Intel, Vivo and Mediatek follow Sony in MWC coronavirus pullout – is it all over for the phone show?
After a spate of big-name withdrawals from Mobile World Congress 2020 due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak, other manufacturers have announced similar decisions to cancel their attendance and any activities at the show.
Intel, Vivo and chip-manufacturer Mediatek are the latest to pull out.
They join an ever-growing list that started with LG, which cancelled a week ago, citing concerns for the safety of its employees. Then Sony Mobile followed – releasing a statement explaining that it won’t be exhibiting nor hosting its annual press conference at the world’s largest phone trade show in Barcelona.
“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, Spain,” it said on the official Sony news site.
Soon after, Nvidia, Amazon and Ericsson cancelled their plans to attend too. Others are still expected to follow suit too.
Samsung, for example, is yet to confirm its intentions, but speculation is rife that it will also “pare back” its presence somewhat.
- The coronavirus could affect when you get your next phone, and is already delaying some launches
Most of those not attending will still host press conferences, except online rather than in person. Sony Mobile, for example, will still livestream its event, which you can read more about here.
How will this affect your next mobile phone?
I have often expressed concerns that coronavirus will start to impact mobile phone and electronic sales due to factory closures in China. Indeed, I am already aware of some launches being pushed back because of worries over production.
This latest developments are equally as damaging to the mobile phone industry.
While Mobile World Congress, with over 100,000 attendees, doesn’t just revolve around the big companies, losing the biggest announcements will change the dynamic of the show – possibly forever.
For us, the consumers, it also means that we’re likely to see a very different next couple of months compared to previous years. Launches from the major manufacturers will be more subdued – spread over the next couple of months rather than coming thick and fast on the first Sunday of the conference.
It’s certainly going to be an interesting couple of months in the mobile phone biz.
At present, there is no indication that the larger Chinese phone makers will boycott the show. We are still currently expecting the likes of Huawei, Honor, Xiaomi and Oppo to attend.
Some, including Huawei and ZTE, have put measures in place to minimise any risk to attendees.
Mobile World Congress’ organiser, the GSMA, has confirmed that the event will go ahead as usual, but has enforced additional measures itself.
It has, for example, banned any travellers from the Hubei province. Plus, all travellers who have been in China recently will have to prove that they have been outside of China for 14-days or more before MWC starts.
Temperature screening will also be implemented to check for fevers, and there will be increased cleaning and disinfections programmes throughout.
We will update if anything future changes. These are troubling times, not just for the smartphone industry but those who have contracted coronavirus, their friends and families. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them all.