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Coronavirus: LG, ZTE Pulls Out Of Mobile World Congress Over Epidemic Concerns

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LG has pulled out of one of the world’s biggest tech show over concerns for the spread of coronavirus.


The electronics giants canceled its appearance at Mobile World Congress (MWC), held every year in Barcelona.


This year’s edition of the MWC will start on 24th February and is the world’s largest mobile-focused tech expo.


The Chinese firm, ZTE also canceled its appearance at the expo, although it made plans for a press conference at the event due to the virus. ZTE will also still host a stand.


On another note, Sony has said the coronavirus could negatively impact production in its factories. These factories make components for Apple and Huawei products.


Its Chief financial officer Hiroki Totoki said: “We cannot deny that our production and sales supply chain for the image sensor and electronics business could be affected enormously.”


MWC’s organisers, the GSM Association, said: “There is minimal impact on the event thus far”.


mobile world congress 2020
ZTE will also not be attending the congress, however, it will have a stand at the event.


However, within hours of the statement, LG announced it was also pulling out.


“With the safety of its employees and general public foremost in mind, LG has decided to withdraw from exhibiting and participating in MWC 2020 later this month in Barcelona, Spain,” LG said in a statement.


He added:


“This decision will prevent needlessly exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel, which most health experts have advised.”

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LG then added that it would hold “separate events in the near future” instead.


“You have to say it’s probably an entirely sensible response given the situation,” a tech analyst at Futuresource, Simon Forrest said.

World Mobile Congress will proceed but with no handshakes

So far, there has been only one confirmed case of coronavirus in Spain.


A spokeswoman for the GSMA said, “We have spoken to LG and regret not seeing them at this year’s MWC20 Barcelona”. Adding that the MWC was still due to proceed as planned.


The GSMA organising committee had previously said it had taken extra precautions for this year’s conference. This includes putting in place a “no-handshake policy”, increased cleaning and disinfection. The conference will also make provision for more sanitising materials for public use.


Mr Forrest who also says he will attend the MWC in person, said: “They have to be taking this seriously.”


More than 24,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in China to date although in comparison, there are only a handful of cases, in other countries around the world. Nearly 500 people have now died across the world from the virus.


Chinese manufacturer, Hon Hai, which produces iPhones for Apple, cut its sales forecast for the year, due to the spread of coronavirus. The spread of the virus may affect supply chains in Asia, where factories make components and hardware for tech firms.


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