Coronavirus impact: Ericsson withdraws from MWC Barcelona 2020

WHO: China

Stockholm,  After South Korean company LG electronics, Swedish telecommunication giant Ericsson on Friday announced to withdraw its participation from the flagship Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona, owing to the outbreak and continued spreading of the Novel Coronavirus.

Stressing that health and safety of its employees, customers and other stakeholders is the company’s top priority, Ericsson said it has closely monitored the development and adhered to recommendations from relevant national authorities and international bodies, such as the WHO.

“The health and safety of our employees, customers and other stakeholders are our highest priority. This is not a decision we have taken lightly,” said Borje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson.

“We were looking forward to showcasing our latest innovations at MWC in Barcelona. It is very unfortunate, but we strongly believe the most responsible business decision is to withdraw our participation from this year’s event,” he added.

With the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus showing no signs of slowing down, LG Electronics has decided to withdraw its participation from the MWC 2020.

Industry watchers had warned that others may soon follow suit.

According to Ericsson, the company has already taken a number of precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of employees and to minimize the impact on the company’s operations.

“After an extensive internal risk assessment, Ericsson has decided to take further precautionary measures by withdrawing from MWC Barcelona 2020, the largest event in the telecom industry,” it said in a statement.

Ericsson said as one of the largest exhibitors, it has thousands of visitors in its hall each day and even if the risk is low, the company cannot guarantee the health and safety of its employees and visitors.

To showcase the company’s portfolio and innovations, Ericsson will take the demos and content created for MWC Barcelona to customers in their home markets with local events called “Ericsson Unboxed”.

Earlier, LG Electronics said in a statement that 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”.

MWC organiser GSMA said that it is monitoring and assessing the potential impact of the coronavirus on its events held annually in Barcelona, Shanghai and Los Angeles and as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences.

After report of ZTE cancelling a press conference at the MWC 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak surfaced, the Chinese tech major clarified that it will still have booth space at the show and that its participation in the event will go “as planned”.