Mobile World Congress (MWC) is one of the biggest tech trade shows in the world, and certainly the most high-profile one in Europe. It takes place around February every year in Barcelona and features hundreds of companies showing off their new tech wares—specifically mobile phones.
Yet this year’s Mobile World Congress is on course to be missing some of the biggest names in tech that are usually regulars—and you can blame the coronavirus for that. Both Sony and Amazon have announced they are pulling out of MWC as the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe.
In a statement, Sony said, “Sony has been closely monitoring the evolving situation following the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization on January 30, 2020. As we place the utmost importance on the safety and well-being of our customers, partners, media, and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain.”
Instead of showing off its latest smartphones at MWC, Sony said it will unveil them in a video on their official Xperia YouTube channel.
Amazon, too, confirmed to TechCrunch yesterday that it was pulling out of MWC, saying, “Due to the outbreak and continued concerns about novel coronavirus, Amazon will withdraw from exhibiting and participating in Mobile World Congress 2020, scheduled for Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain.”
Amazon and Sony are just the latest to pull out of MWC 2020 this year. Others who have already canceled MWC event due to coronavirus fears include Ericsson, LG, Nvidia, and ZTE.
For its part, GSMA, the organization that puts on Mobile World Congress, says that this year’s conference will go on. However, it is taking tough measures in an attempt to mitigate the attendees’ exposure to the coronavirus. The organization says that travelers from China’s Hubei province will not be allowed into the event and anyone who has been in China will need to prove they’ve been outside of China for at least two weeks before entering MWC. GSMA also says temperature screenings to help identify those potentially infected by the coronavirus will be implemented at the conference.