Sony becomes most recent tech firm to pull out of MWC due to coronavirus concerns
Japanese hardware manufacturer and distributor, Sony, has become the most recent smartphone manufacturer to declare that it's not attending the Mobile World Congress (MWC) tradeshow. This marks another tech giant to withdraw from the exhibition, citing worry about the coronavirus contagion.
MWC is set to be held in Barcelona between February 24th and 27th.
Sony reps said that the company plans to hold the press conference, which was originally planned for the event, remotely. The conference will be held through its Xperia YouTube channel, at the planned time of 8:30am (CET) on February 24th.
“Sony would like to thank everyone for their understanding and ongoing support during these challenging times,” the company concluded.
Sony’s move adds to the recently growing number of organizations that have announced their withdrawals or downscaled presence at the event due to rapid growing global concerns regarding the no less rapid spread of the coronavirus. As of this publication, the list consists of top tech players such as Ericsson, Amazon, LG, ZTE and NVIDIA.
The onset and growing number of confirmed cases have led the World Health Organization to mark the novel coronavirus as worldwide emergency a little less than two weeks ago. As of February 10th, 2020 the lion’s share of the infection cases have been contained to mainland China, with the heaviest concentrations in the Hubei region, specifically Wuhan, where the virus is generally believed to have originated.
A few tech firms that are based in China, including ZTE and Xiaomi, have made announcements regarding changes in their MWC plans that address concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. For example, the companies are placing travel limitations on employees from China or mandating that they isolate themselves in the period of time prior to attending the event.
The GSMA, which is organizing the tradeshow, has similarly declared stringent guidelines in an attempt to protect participants. These guidelines prohibit attendees that are flying in from Hubei as well as a mandatory requirement that all travelers who have been in China must sufficiently demonstrate they have been outside its borders at least two weeks 14 days preceding the outbreak.
Participants of the event will likewise be required to confirm they have not been in contact with any individual believed to have been infected, the GSMA stated. Aside from this, attendees will also be screened for high temperatures at the exhibition.
In 2019, the Mobile World Congress tradeshow was attended by almost 110 thousand participants, which came in from 198 nations.
“While further planning is underway, we will continue to monitor the situation and will adapt our plans according to developments and advice we receive. We are contending with a constantly evolving situation, that will require fast adaptability,” the GSMA added.
Participation at the MWC has routinely broken the 100 thousand mark in recent years but this year seems to be set to break this streak as tech firms are forced to reevaluate their travel arrangements.