Wuhan’s coronavirus has caused the first casualty at the Mobile World Congress 2020 (MWC). The Korean company LG announced on Tuesday in a statement that it will not attend the world mobile congress, which will be held in Barcelona between February 24 and 27. For its part, the Chinese ZTE has denied in another press release that will not be on the date, as was reported yesterday, and explained that while canceling the press conference will keep its stand.
“The ZTE device press conference scheduled for February 25, which is just one of the many planned activities, has been canceled. However, we will show a wide variety of new 5G devices at the ZTE booth during MWC 2020 , as planned, “ZTE said.
LG explained that the measure aims to “put the safety and health of its employees” before avoiding transfers between different countries in the face of the health crisis. The brand plans to hold other events soon to announce its new 2020 mobiles. For its part, ZTE explained to The verge which will not hold the press conference for side effects related to the coronavirus. A spokesman has explained to the American media that they are having problems such as delays in obtaining visas, so some members of the company would not arrive on time. In addition, he has shown his intention to avoid the bad environment (The Verge speaks of “xenophobia”) that could generate his presence: “We tend to be a very kind company, and we simply do not want to make people feel uncomfortable.”
“LG Electronics is following and closely monitoring the current situation related to the new outbreak of coronavirus that was recently declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization, as the virus continues to spread outside of China,” said the statement LG. His decision not to participate in the MWC, he says, “will avoid unnecessarily exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel, something that most health experts have advised.”
The WHO declared last week an international emergency for the coronavirus. The first cases were detected at the end of December in Wuhan. Now there are more than 23,000 people infected and the death toll exceeds 490 in China. The number of affected countries is around twenty. In Spain, at the moment only one case has been confirmed. The patient, of German nationality, is admitted and isolated in the Hospital Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de La Gomera.
Growing presence of Asian brands
The main companies of the mobile phone industry meet at the event. The GSMA, organizer of the Mobile World Congress, expects that in 2020 more than 109,000 people from almost 200 countries attend the congress. In the last two years, the Asian presence in the congress has increased from 14% to 16%, according to an event report published by the GSMA in 2019. Last year, 6% of the attendees were from China.
The Korean company usually presents new terminals every year at the MWC. For example, in 2019 it showed the LG G8 ThinQ, a striking mobile because it can be controlled with gestures, and the LG V50 ThinQ 5G, its first device compatible with 5G technology and that also has a double screen. On this occasion the brand planned to present devices at the congress. It also offered the possibility of closing appointments with specialists to know their new range of smartphones by 2020.
LG had a revenue of $ 53 billion in 2019, most of which came from the sale of Home Entertainment appliances and products, such as its televisions. In the mobile market, it occupies the seventh place worldwide with a 3% share, according to the IHS consultancy. ZTE had a 2% share in 2018, according to data from Counterpoint Research Market Monitor.
The position of the organization
The announcements of LG and ZTE arrive only a few days after the GSMA said in a statement that the fair will be held as planned: “The next MWC Barcelona event will take place as planned in all places of the Fira Gran Vía and Fira Montjuïc, including YoMo and Four Years From Now (4YFN) “. The organization also claims to be analyzing and evaluating the potential impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
As explained therein, additional medical assistance will be provided in the spaces where the MWC will take place “in the previous period and during the event”. The organization emphasizes that it is working with Fira de Barcelona to ensure “sufficient disinfectant products in all places”. For example, it plans to implement a cleaning and disinfection program in spaces where there is a greater probability of contact: from restoration areas to services or spaces with touch screens.
The ZTE device press conference scheduled for February 25, which is just one of the many planned activities, has been canceled. However, we will show a wide variety of new 5G devices at the ZTE booth during MWC 2020, as planned.