Mobile World Congress 2020 canceled due to coronavirus outbreak

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2020
The GSM Association has decided to cancel this year's Mobile World Congress, citing the health and safety of the city of Barcelona and show attendees as a major concern.

Image Credit: Mobile World Congress
Image Credit: Mobile World Congress


For the first time in 33 years, Mobile World Congress (MWC) has had to call off the event, which annually draws in over 100,000 participants.

In early February, big-name attendees started to pull out of the event to prevent unnecessary risks to their staff due to the ongoing 2019 Coronavirus outbreak. Sony, Nokia, LG, Intel, Amazon, were among some of the first to cancel.

The outbreak, which has lasted about three months, appears to be just short of the peak of its spread. The WHO has confirmed at least 45,171 cases with over 1,115 deaths, with a recent slowdown.

The GSM Association had initially wanted to continue MWC 2020. It had previously released a statement that disclosed preventative measures being taken to eliminate any potential spread of the disease.

However, with many major players no longer attending and the safety of the surrounding city at stake, the conference organizers have decided that it would be better to cancel the show this year.

"The global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible" to hold the event, John Hoffman, chief executive officer of conference organizer GSMA, said in a statement to Bloomberg News.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, termed "2019-nCoV" for short, is a type of coronavirus responsible for causing respiratory distress in the infected. Symptoms are typically flu-like, with a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Those infected can go on to develop life-threatening pneumonia.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    Wow. I bet the city of Barcelona wasn't expecting to lose tens of millions of dollars in tourist revenue because of a virus in China.
    tmaySpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 36
    LoL read btw the lines. Better to lose revenue than become next hot spot with tech companies like Hauwei (and staff)  visiting. Just more polite to cancel than to post a sign saying no Chinese tech companies allowed.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 36
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,820member
    Wow. I bet the city of Barcelona wasn't expecting to lose tens of millions of dollars in tourist revenue because of a virus in China.
    A worldwide Mobile conference would surely attract many international visitors, particularly visitors from regions hit hard by the Corona Virus.  I think it's great they are being pro-active about it.

    First SARS, now Novel Corona... China needs to get its act together.  Then again, we can't necessarily complain.  While everyone agrees that Corona is a threat that needs to be eradicated, there are moronic anti-vaxxers spreading one-eradicated diseases back to the public based on misguided, agenda-driven, and often ill-educated conspiracy theorists.
    edited February 2020 razorpitCarnagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 36
    Any planned product introductions or deals will still be made, just not in a forum that’s much more conducive to spreading viruses.
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 36
    sflocal said:
    Wow. I bet the city of Barcelona wasn't expecting to lose tens of millions of dollars in tourist revenue because of a virus in China.
    A worldwide Mobile conference would surely attract many international visitors, particularly visitors from regions hit hard by the Corona Virus.  I think it's great they are being pro-active about it.

    First SARS, now Novel Corona... China needs to get its act together.  Then again, we can't necessarily complain.  While everyone agrees that Corona is a threat that needs to be eradicated, there are moronic anti-vaxxers spreading one-eradicated diseases back to the public based on misguided, agenda-driven, and often ill-educated conspiracy theorists.
    Right.  Don't get me wrong, it was probably the right thing to do.  Just sucks for the tourism industry of that city.  Lots of people just lost lots of money.  And it won't be the last city impacted.  I assume only a tiny fraction of WWDC attendees are from China, so perhaps that goes on with nary a hitch?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 36
    The outbreak, which has lasted about three months, 
    If the first case was diagnosed on the last day of December how is that 3 months? Even if it started mid December that's only 2 months ago...

     
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 36
    sflocal said:
    Wow. I bet the city of Barcelona wasn't expecting to lose tens of millions of dollars in tourist revenue because of a virus in China.
    A worldwide Mobile conference would surely attract many international visitors, particularly visitors from regions hit hard by the Corona Virus.  I think it's great they are being pro-active about it.

    First SARS, now Novel Corona... China needs to get its act together.  Then again, we can't necessarily complain.  While everyone agrees that Corona is a threat that needs to be eradicated, there are moronic anti-vaxxers spreading one-eradicated diseases back to the public based on misguided, agenda-driven, and often ill-educated conspiracy theorists.
    Why is the anti-vaxxer's 5 year old crying? Mid-life crisis.
    randominternetpersonrazorpit
  • Reply 8 of 36
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,959member
    It was bit of a strange decision. When I left for Barcelona this afternoon the GSMA was already holding its meeting (originally scheduled for Friday). First news was that the event would go ahead as planned (health protocols were already in place by the city and the organisers) but with another meeting scheduled for Friday to evaluate the situation then. By the time I left Barcelona tonight, the show had been called off.

    During that time the press were reporting that according to several sources there were no health related reasons to cancel the event.

    Huawei staff for example left China with more than enough time to attend the show 'clean'.

    This cancellation will cost upwards of 500 million euros.

    Of the estimated 100,000 visitors to the fair, approximately 50,000 are from Asia (mostly China). However, nobody who had been in China within 14 days of the start of the event would have been admitted and nobody from Hubei Province would be admitted (independently of their time away from home).

    I am not sure if Huawei's pre-MWC event will go ahead on 23rd February.

    The Catalan Regional government and the Spanish national government wanted the fair to go ahead as planned and claimed there were zero health related reasons to justify its cancellation.

    Personally, cancelling the show eliminates a lot of any associated risk so I am better off in that sense although many of the participants are already in the EU and Barcelona. I also travel on the same line that serves Barcelona Airport so there was always an indirect risk of using trains that had transported visitors to the fair.
    edited February 2020 randominternetperson
  • Reply 9 of 36
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 13,377member
    sflocal said:
    Wow. I bet the city of Barcelona wasn't expecting to lose tens of millions of dollars in tourist revenue because of a virus in China.
    A worldwide Mobile conference would surely attract many international visitors, particularly visitors from regions hit hard by the Corona Virus.  I think it's great they are being pro-active about it.

    First SARS, now Novel Corona... China needs to get its act together.  Then again, we can't necessarily complain.  While everyone agrees that Corona is a threat that needs to be eradicated, there are moronic anti-vaxxers spreading one-eradicated diseases back to the public based on misguided, agenda-driven, and often ill-educated conspiracy theorists.
    There is a huge difference in scale here.   Anti-vaxxers are a small minority of the world population and not really something to be concerned with.    China on the other hand has a massive population with beliefs that make it hard to address food safety and the diseases that arise out of the “wet markets”.    It is pretty useless to link the two issues.   

    Even if the government in China gave a damn they would still need to reform centuries of practice in China.  Effectively they would have to tiptoe around to prevent a real revolt.   It isn’t like people don’t know why these things happen in China.  

    The unfortunate thing with this issue in China is that the government is suppressing all public debate.  Without knowledge there will be no drive in the nation to make things better.  
    razorpit
  • Reply 10 of 36
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Who cares about the money lost?

    Obviously safety and lives takes precedence over any garbage money lost, especially when there's a current virus spreading.

    But don't worry, I'm sure the EU can simply hold a meeting next week and concoct some sort of BS tax to make up for any lost business. They can call it the Corona tax and fine China 500 million or so.
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 36
    apple ][ said:
    Who cares about the money lost?

    Obviously safety and lives takes precedence over any garbage money lost, especially when there's a current virus spreading.

    But don't worry, I'm sure the EU can simply hold a meeting next week and concoct some sort of BS tax to make up for any lost business. They can call it the Corona tax and fine China 500 million or so.
    Oh!  I know the answer to that one:  the people losing the money!  Obviously the organizers decided that the money wasn't worth the risk (or it was decided for them as major participants were cancelling en masse).  But that doesn't mean the money isn't important.

    I wonder how this will impact Vegas.  Chinese tourists are a significant market for them.
    lolliverchemengin1watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 36
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,062member
    I don't believe for a second the show was canceled because of health concerns. It wasn't canceled until after several of the big names said - ya know what, maybe next year. We're good.' With so many major players withdrawing it just wasn't worth holding it.

    If none of them had cancelled and the dance card full, would it have been canceled? I think not. Certainly it's a better safe than sorry move, and there's nothing wrong with that, but I don't think that was the reason.


    apple ][ said:
    Who cares about the money lost?
    Jesus fuck. The guy was just making an observation, not a judgement. Certainly this is going to be a gut punch to the economy.

    The reality is nobody knows how much of a health liability the expo would present. In fact, nobody has a decent educated guess how much of a health liability continuing as planned would present. But if a lot of people are afraid to attend, why bother.

    Better safe than sorry, sure. Unnecessarily safe than sorry- maybe. Or not.
    muthuk_vanalingamchemengin1randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 36
    sflocal said:

    China needs to get its act together. 
    What do you propose they do on top of locking down 50 million people? Banning contact with animals? 
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 36
    eightzero said:
    sflocal said:
    Wow. I bet the city of Barcelona wasn't expecting to lose tens of millions of dollars in tourist revenue because of a virus in China.
    A worldwide Mobile conference would surely attract many international visitors, particularly visitors from regions hit hard by the Corona Virus.  I think it's great they are being pro-active about it.

    First SARS, now Novel Corona... China needs to get its act together.  Then again, we can't necessarily complain.  While everyone agrees that Corona is a threat that needs to be eradicated, there are moronic anti-vaxxers spreading one-eradicated diseases back to the public based on misguided, agenda-driven, and often ill-educated conspiracy theorists.
    Why is the anti-vaxxer's 5 year old crying? Mid-life crisis.
    Cute, but anti-vaxxers are more often than not immigrants, which undermines the typical Lefty narrative that it’s ‘conservative hillbillies’ who are the risk:

    https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/10/26/16552864/minnesotas-measles-outbreak-immigrants-anti-vaxxers
  • Reply 15 of 36
    It is mostly just an annual meeting of blatant IP thieves anyway. 

    Who cares. 
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 36
    sflocal said:

    China needs to get its act together. 
    What do you propose they do on top of locking down 50 million people? Banning contact with animals? 
    I’ve read that wet markets may well be a disease vector in situations like this.
  • Reply 17 of 36
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    sflocal said:

    China needs to get its act together. 
    What do you propose they do on top of locking down 50 million people? Banning contact with animals? 
    I’ve read that wet markets may well be a disease vector in situations like this.
    Eating bats is probably not a good idea either. They had been suspected as one of the sources.
    razorpitrandominternetperson
  • Reply 18 of 36
    apple ][ said:
    sflocal said:

    China needs to get its act together. 
    What do you propose they do on top of locking down 50 million people? Banning contact with animals? 
    I’ve read that wet markets may well be a disease vector in situations like this.
    Eating bats is probably not a good idea either. They had been suspected as one of the sources.

    Neither is eating cows, pigs, chickens, french fries, donuts and CocaCola.   But we do it anyway.
  • Reply 19 of 36
    This conference is less about today's technology than where it will lead in the future.
    So, its interesting that, since there is only one country seriously impacted by the virus that they would cancel a major show half way around the world away from it.

    I guess that demonstrates the impact that country is expected to have on the technologies of the future.

    Without China, the future of technology takes a hit -- there's no sense even holding the show.
  • Reply 20 of 36
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    apple ][ said:
    sflocal said:

    China needs to get its act together. 
    What do you propose they do on top of locking down 50 million people? Banning contact with animals? 
    I’ve read that wet markets may well be a disease vector in situations like this.
    Eating bats is probably not a good idea either. They had been suspected as one of the sources.

    Neither is eating cows, pigs, chickens, french fries, donuts and CocaCola.   But we do it anyway.
    Difference being cows, pigs, chickens are part of a balanced diet. Bats are not. By the way you left off dirt, rocks, and tree bark on your list of things not to eat.
    watto_cobra
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