The Mobile World Congress 2020 tech event scheduled for late February has lost several companies in the last few days due to Coronavirus fears. The deadly virus, which has killed hundreds of people in China, has heavily affected the tech industry and the upcoming tech event could be at risk.
Spanish media are reporting that GSMA, the organizers of the famous event, will meet on Friday. In the meeting, they will decide whether to cancel the event completely.
MWC organizers recently said the virus had a minimal impact on the event. Reports said the organizers have taken several measures to make the event safer, including the introduction of a no handshake policy.
The situation has changed over the last few days, with several companies announcing they will not be at the event. The cancellations began with LG, which announced a separate event for a later date. The company was followed by Ericsson, with both confirming the decision was over the virus.
Since then, several other companies have made similar decisions, including Amazon and Sony. A few hours ago, Facebook and Intel joined the list of companies skipping the event, with the social media giant saying evolving public health risks were behind its decision.
MWC has not been cancelled but one contact in the telecoms industry told the BBC that today was likely to be a decisive day for other companies reviewing the situation.
MWC is one of the biggest tech events of the year and previous editions have seen thousands of people attend. In the event, companies around the world gather to make major announcements.
MWC 2020 is expected to have big announcements from companies but the deadly virus has forced some to skip. The only companies that have decided not to skip the event completely are ZTE and TCL. The Chinese smartphone giant was rumored to be skipping the event. The company later said it had not cancelled but that it would not hold a press conference at MWC 2020. TCL has confirmed the cancellation of its global press event but revealed that it will remain there with private pre-briefings and an exhibit.
The decisions from companies such as LG and Sony mean there will be no announcements from them at MWC 2020. The virus has put small companies in a tough situation, with BBC reporting that software startup Lightico is expected to lose the $15,000 it had put in to be part of the event. Lightico will not attend but will have what it describes as a virtual booth.
On February 3, the number of cases went over 20,000. The virus has killed hundreds since it surfaced in China back in December. Health officials there have taken many measures and it has been decided that many sporting events will be postponed.
Over the last few days, soccer and other sporting tournaments have been moved to later dates. The spread of the virus has caused major concern, even from organizers outside of China. Organizers of the 2020 Olympics recently expressed their concerns. The Olympic Games are scheduled for this summer.