LG cites the safety of its employees, partners and customers as reasons why it is not participating in MWC 2020. In a statement on its site, LG said it will skip MWC, the world's largest mobile trade show, and launch this year's releases at separate events "in the near future" instead.
Hours before, ZTE had announced it would be pulling out of MWC and canceling its press conference, partially due to travel and visa issues but also over concerns of the coronavirus, including the mild xenophobia that comes with the China-originated disease, a spokesperson told The Verge.
Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corp, Oppo and Xiaomi Corp are among the major Android smartphone makers expected to take part in the annual MWC Barcelona, which will be held from February 24 to 27.
Shenzhen-based ZTE, which announced on Wednesday that it would cancel a press conference in MWC to unveil its latest 5G devices, has already sent a group of employees to Barcelona, almost three weeks ahead the event. LG focused its statement entirely on the coronavirus - though if the company was planning a light MWC already, with few announcements, that might have made it easier to call its plans off. This decision removes the risk of exposing hundreds of LG employees to worldwide travel which has already become more restrictive as the virus continues to spread across borders.
First, ZTE announced its intention to withdraw, while the GSMA - the body that operates Mobile World Congress - reconfirmed it would still hold the convention. ZTE plans to roll out "a wide variety of new 5G devices" and will keep its usual exhibition spot. Also, GSMA confirmed that it has already implemented measures to help mitigate the spread of the virus, so it expects the impact on this specific event to be minimal. But despite the ongoing outbreak, the organizer of MWC, the GSMA, said on Tuesday the show will still go on, for now at least.
The toll from the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak in China has climbed to 490, with 65 new fatalities, while the total number of confirmed cases has gone up to 24,324, the Chinese health authorities confirmed on Wednesday. These include the installation of hand sanitizing stations, a "no handshake" policy, and more.