GSMA announced on Wednesday that it has cancelled the world's biggest tech show, MWC 2020, over Covid-19 (Coronavirus) concerns. A lot of big names in the tech industry had called off their participation in the global event citing health concerns around Covid-19 epidemic, which aided GSMA's decision.
MWC 2020 was supposed to be held in Barcelona, Spain, from February 24 till February 27. The massive tech show attracts more than 100,000 attendees from across the world and significantly boosts the economy of Barcelona. But the safety of those hundreds and thousands of attendees has taken precedence over the event, which would have been a platform to showcase many new products and technologies.
"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," GSMA CEO John Hoffman said in a statement.
The first edition of MWC was held in 2006 and it has since been a home to many global brands to showcase their new product lineup. The event brings together phone makers, dealers, sales reps and journalists from around the world, giving each and everyone an opportunity to connect on a massive platform. GSMA's decision to cancel the whole things pours water on those plans.
As the novel coronavirus continued to spread and claim more and more lives, the fears around the deadly disease have created panic around the world. The Covid-19 had a major impact on the tech industry, which witnessed several companies backing out of their MWC events.
In the past few weeks, several companies cancelled their MWC events, which eventually led GSMA, its organiser, to cancel the whole thing. Major tech companies including Amazon, Sony, LG, Ericsson, Nokia, Vivo, Intel, Facebook, and Nvidia among others decided to skip this year's tech conference due to Covid-19 epidemic.
As more and more companies announced their cancellations, MWC was hanging in the balance. Finally, a meeting was called to observe the situation for MWC to take place this year and the GSMA decided to pull the plug on the tech event.
Assurances failed to stick
GSMA had been issuing reassuring press releases to make sure the MWC 2020 goes as planned. The organisers had put in place some stringent measures, such as no-handshake policy and fresh microphones for all speakers. But all that failed to convince the big tech wigs.
What happens now?
The companies that backed out of MWC 2020 have made some alternate plans for the future. For instance, Sony is hosting an online-only broadcast to avoid changing its plans. As for other companies, they are at the liberty of launching or announcing their new products at their own whim.
Nokia said it would reveal the new timeline for its refreshed product lineup soon after cancelling its MWC participation a day before GSMA made the announcement. But the bigger question that arises here is what about the brands that were willing to participate in MWC despite everything.
We have some big names like Huawei, Oppo, Xiaomi and Motorola that were going to have their booths at the MWC floor. Now that those plans are annulled, their next move remains unknown. MWC 2020 was an important event for Realme, which was going to make its debut at the big tech platform, now needs to go ahead with an independent even to launch its X50 Pro 5G smartphone.