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Breaking: World’s Largest Smartphone Expo Cancelled Due to Coronavirus Fears


Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain—the world’s biggest trade show for smartphone makers—has officially been cancelled for 2020. The news comes after several of the biggest exhibitors pulled out of the show at the last minute due to fears about the spread of the Coronavirus.

According to Bloomberg, the 2020 expo was officially cancelled less than an hour ago. “JUST IN: The 2020 Mobile World Congress has been canceled by GSMA because of #coronavirus fears,” reads Bloomberg’s breaking news tweet. “In an emailed statement, John Hoffman, the CEO of GSMA, said the outbreak has made it ‘impossible’ to hold the event.”

This past weekend, the GSMA announced that it would be “moving ahead as planned and will host MWC Barcelona 24-27 February 2020,” while implementing “health and safety measures” in collaboration with “Spanish health authorities, Host City Partners, [and] other relevant agencies.” But as more and more companies have chosen to avoid the show entirely over the past week—and the death toll from Coronavirus has exceeded 1,000—it seems GSMA had to make the difficult choice to shut down the show entirely.

In a statement published moments ago, the GSMA writes:

With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event.

“The GSMA and the Host City Parties will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions,” continues the statement. “Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world.”

This news comes just two weeks before the CP+ expo—one of the world’s largest photography trade shows—is due to begin in Japan. Given Japan’s proximity to the epicenter of the outbreak in China, this news about MWC 2020 begs the question: will there even be a CP+ 2020?

(via The Verge)

Image credits: Header image by Kārlis Dambrāns, CC BY 2.0.