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An Amazon logo is pictured during the Amazon's annual Smbhav event in New Delhi on January 15, 2020. Photo: AFP

Amazon pulls out of world’s biggest mobile industry trade show in Barcelona over coronavirus

  • MWC Barcelona is one of the telecoms industry’s biggest gatherings which attracts over 100,000 visitors
  • Amazon is the fourth company to pull out of the annual gathering this week, following LG Electronics, Ericsson and Nvidia has pulled out of this month’s MWC Barcelona event because of the coronavirus outbreak, in another blow to one of the telecom industry’s biggest gatherings which attracts over 100,000 visitors to the Spanish city.

“Due to the outbreak and continued concerns about the new coronavirus, Amazon will withdraw from exhibiting and participating in Mobile World Congress 2020,” the company said in a statement on Sunday.

Amazon had planned a significant presence through its cloud computing arm Amazon Web Services, which was due to host a full-day conference track on the first day of the event.

The US tech firm is the fourth major company to pull out of the annual gathering this week, following South Korea’s LG Electronics, Swedish telecommunications equipment supplier Ericsson and US chip maker Nvidia.

The event will go ahead as planned from February 24 to 27, according to organiser the GSM Association in a statement on Sunday, ahead of Amazon’s announcement that it was pulling out. The GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide, said it would tighten health precautions to guard against the coronavirus outbreak.

China’s smartphone giants cut size of contingent to world’s biggest mobile show

No visitors will be allowed to attend from China’s Hubei province, where the coronavirus outbreak started, while visitors from China must prove they have been outside the country for two weeks before the event, the GSMA said.

Some 5,000 to 6,000 visitors typically come from China to the world’s premier mobile industry exhibition, where companies spend millions on stands and hospitality to fill their order books for the year ahead.

Chinese companies Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp have said they will attend, ordering staff assigned to the event to self-isolate ahead of exhibition to ensure they are free of the illness, and drafting in European staff to cover for those stranded.
China raised the death toll from the outbreak to 908 on Monday, passing the number killed globally by the Sars epidemic, while total confirmed cases of the illness reached more than 40,000.

The virus has spread to at least 27 countries and territories, according to a Reuters count based on official reports, infecting more than 330 people outside China. Two deaths have been reported outside mainland China – both of Chinese nationals.

More than two dozen large trade fairs and industry conferences in China and overseas have been postponed or hit by travel curbs and concerns about the spread of the virus, potentially disrupting billions of dollars worth of deals.

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