LG bows out of Mobile World Congress citing coronavirus concerns
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Phone manufacturer LG said it would no longer be attending the 2020 Mobile World Congress (MWC 2020) in Barcelona, Spain due to concerns about the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.
"With the safety of its employees, partners, and customers foremost in mind, LG has decided to withdraw from exhibiting and participating in MWC 2020 later this month in Barcelona, Spain. This decision removes the risk of exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel which has already become more restrictive as the virus continues to spread across borders." LG said.
LG added it would hold "separate events in the near future to announce its 2020 mobile products."
ZTE bows out then uncancels
Meanwhile, ZTE, which earlier told The Verge it would not be attending MWC 2020, appears to have reversed its earlier decision and will be attending the event. The company said in a press release and a tweet it would be showcasing new 5G devices and technology.
#ZTE will participate in #MWC20 Barcelona as planned, showcasing comprehensive #5G end-to-end solutions and a wide variety of 5G devices. ZTE's booth is in 3F30, Hall 3, FIRA GRAN VIA. pic.twitter.com/vB9S4IpyZP— ZTE Corporation (@ZTEPress) February 5, 2020
Earlier, a ZTE spokesperson said their absence from MWC 2020 was partly due to logistical issues, but also done to avoid stirring potential xenophobia coming about from the coronavirus.
“[We] tend to be an overly courteous company, and simply don’t want to make people uncomfortable," the ZTE representative explained.
The GSMA, which sets up the yearly Mobile World Congress, said it "is continuing to monitor and assess the potential impact of the Coronavirus on its MWC20 events held annually in Barcelona, Shanghai and Los Angeles and as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences."
It will also be implementing measures to help reduce any possible sickness or infections, such as better disinfection and cleaning operations and increasing medical support at the event. (READ: Big Tech not immune to coronavirus)
At least 490 people have died in China alone as a result of the 2019-nCoV. – Rappler.com