Blow for MWC as LG exits mobile mega-event

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Although the organisers of Mobile World Congress (MWC) will proceed as planned with the annual event amid the coronavirus outbreak, some big tech companies have decided to err on the side of caution.

LG Electronics has announced it will withdraw from “exhibiting and participating” in the world’s biggest mobile technology conference.

The GSMA-run event, scheduled to take place from 24 to 27 February, sees over 100 000 people from the mobile technology industry gather under one enormous roof in Barcelona, Spain, every year.

In a statement, LG says in lieu of its participation in MWC, it will hold separate events in the near future to announce its 2020 mobile products.

“With the safety of its employees, partners and customers foremost in mind, LG has decided to withdraw from exhibiting and participating in MWC 2020 later this month in Barcelona, Spain.

“This decision removes the risk of exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel which has already become more restrictive as the virus continues to spread across borders,” reads the statement.

Despite reports that Chinese manufacturer ZTE will also skip this year’s MWC event as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the company reveals it still plans to exhibit its solutions at the conference, saying only its devices press conference has been cancelled.

ZTE, however, does not reveal the reason for cancelling the devices press conference.

In a statement sent to ITWeb, the company says it will be in hall three at MWC, sharing its “expertise and success stories” in the global 5G network construction arena.

“With the theme of ‘Towards 5G Business Success’, ZTE is committed to demonstrating our outstanding achievements in 5G innovations and end-to-end 5G solutions from the two dimensions of ‘5G Networking Practice’ and ‘5G Business Exploration’.

“The ZTE devices press conference scheduled on 25 February, which is just one of multiple planned activities, was cancelled. A wide variety of new 5G devices will be demonstrated at the ZTE booth during MWC 2020 as planned,” says Jessica King, PR manager for ZTE South Africa.

The coronavirus, which originated in the central city of Wuhan, China, in December, has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation. The death toll has reportedly already passed 490.

The outbreak has also seen several technology companies ‒ including Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, Google and Apple ‒ impose travel restrictions to and from China, with some altogether suspending their office operations in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

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