Coronavirus Impact Sees Sony, Amazon Withdraw From MWC

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Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona later this month sees more big name tech firms withdraw due to Coronavirus outbreak

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona is going to be missing some big names, after a number of firms joining the growing number companies confirming none attendance at the show.

Sony and Amazon have become the latest big name tech firms to confirm they are pulling out of one of the world’s largest tech shows due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Apple confirmed late last week that it had closed large numbers of its stores in China, as that country battles the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus impact

The coronavirus outbreak is already much worse than the SARS outbreak back in 2002 and 2003 which infected more than 8,000 people and killed 774 over a period of several months.

Coronavirus on the other hand has already killed more people, and more quickly, than that previous epidemic 17 years ago.

Indeed, Coronavirus in the space of a single month has so far killed at least 908 people in that country (there have been a few deaths outside of China), and infected over 34,000 people – again mostly in China.

The outbreak has already triggered worries about the impact in the the sector.

Last week Qualcomm warned that the coronavirus could disrupt the global mobile industry, as many factories and suppliers are based in mainland China.

There is also concern about the impact on iPhone production facilities.

MWC withdraws

Last week South Korea’s LG Electronics, Sweden’s telecoms equipment maker Ericsson, and US chip company NVIDIA all announced they were withdrawing the MWC conference, which runs between 24 and 27 February.

And now Sony and Amazon have joined the list.

Sony was quoted as saying by the BBC that it would no longer take part in Mobile World Congress in Barcelona after “monitoring the evolving situation” after the coronavirus outbreak.

So far, the GSMA, which organises the show in the Spanish city, has said the event will go ahead.

However it admitted other companies are considering whether to attend.

And the GSMA said that it was putting in place additional measures to “reassure attendees and exhibitors that their health and safety are our paramount concern”.

These measures reportedly include a ban on all travellers from China’s Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak, while people who have been in China must provide proof they have been outside the country for 14 days.

The GSMA also reportedly says it will suggest participants should not shake hands with each other at the show, and microphones used by speakers will be disinfected and changed.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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