We’ve already covered the impact of the coronavirus on shipping and manufacturing from China, and it now looks like it may take longer than expected before things go back to normal.
The WHO has now an official name for the disease: COVID-19 (COrona VIrus Disease 2019), and the impacts of the virus go far beyond China, and two large events usually taking place in February will either be canceled or scaled back.
After several companies decided to pull out of the event, GSMA decided to completely cancel Mobile World Congress 2020 (aka MWC 2020):
Since the first edition of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2006, the GSMA has convened the industry, governments, ministers, policymakers, operators and industry leaders across the broader ecosystem.
With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event.
The Host City Parties respect and understand this decision.
The GSMA and the Host City Parties will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions.
Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world.
That’s probably the right decision because the event would have brought over 100,000 participants from all over the world, and the risk of spreading the highly contagious disease was just too great. Companies may opt to launch their products online instead.
Embedded World 2020 is another important event, but since it’s focused on embedded systems and software instead of consumer devices, attendance is normally smaller, albeit over 30,000 attendees came to the even last year. So far, I have not read any plans to cancel the event, but ST Microelectronics decided to withdraw from both Embedded World 2020 and MWC 2020:
STMicroelectronics has been closely following the situation related to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China and has taken a number of precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of its employees worldwide.
As an additional measure, the company has taken the decision to withdraw from exhibiting at MWC 2020 in Barcelona and at Embedded World in Nuremberg later this month.
The invitation-only analyst and media event at MWC 2020, hosted by ST executive management, is confirmed to take place at La Fira at the scheduled date and time.
So there will still be private events organized at MWC 2020 as mentioned above, but the situation is still very much evolving, so I’d not be surprised if things change in the next few days. As of the time of writing, I could not find other larger companies deciding to withdraw from Embedded World 2020. [Update February 19, 2020: More companies have decided to cancel their attendance, see comments section]
Many people had already reserved hotel rooms and booked plane tickets to the events and exhibitors started to prepare booths, and it will have a serious economic impact on Barcelona businesses, but public health should be the priority.