Coronavirus prompts Sony, Amazon, Sony & Ericsson to join Barcelona mobile congress exodus

WION Web Team Madrid, Spain Feb 11, 2020, 02.02 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

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The annual gathering is scheduled for February 24-27 this year

Tech companies Amazon, Sony and Ericsson are skipping the Mobile World Congress this year because of fears over the coronavirus.

The companies will stay away from the world's biggest mobile tech fair in Barcelona.

South Korean giant LG and NTT DoCoMo, one of the biggest in Asia will be absent for reasons of "security" stemming from the virus.

The annual gathering is scheduled for February 24-27 this year. It is the telecom industry's biggest annual gathering.

"Due to the outbreak and continued concerns about novel coronavirus, Amazon will withdraw from exhibiting and participating in Mobile World Congress 2020," the company said in a statement.

A similar statement was issued by Sony, it said "as we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona."

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LG, which normally has one of the biggest stands, had said last week that its 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."

Like Sony, LG plans separate events to unveil its new mobile products.

Other trade shows have also been hit by the virus, with the biennial Singapore Airshow reporting the loss of more than 70 participants, including US group Lockheed Martin and Bombardier of Canada.

The MWC is a major date on tech company calendars and normally draws more than 100,000 people from all over the world to see the latest innovations and gadgets.

The mobile trade association GSMA that organises the congress said Sunday it was taking drastic precautions this year to ease fears that it could become a hub for the virus to spread.

Till date, more than 40,000 people have been infected and death toll has crossed 1000 in the outbreak that began in China's Wuhan city.