Chinese smartphone maker Vivo has become the latest company to withdraw from this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC 2020) in Barcelona. This year’s edition of the annual tech show is set to start later this month. Vivo’s decision comes as the death toll from the Coronavirus has crossed 1000 globally. Vivo is also the first Chinese company to have pulled out of the event citing the Coronavirus scare.
“Vivo has been closely monitoring the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (NCP) outbreak and continuously evaluating planned activities. The health and safety of our employees and the public are our top priority. Based on the present situation, we have decided to withdraw from our debut at MWC 2020 and other related events later this month in Barcelona, Spain,” the company has said in an official statement. Vivo joins the likes of Sony, Amazon, Nvidia, Ericsson and LG, to name a few. Vivo however confirms that they will go ahead with the launch of the APEX 2020 concept phone, which was originally scheduled for an unveil at the MWC 2020. However, the new timeline for the unveiling has not been shared as yet. “We apologize for any inconvenience caused and would like to thank our partners, media friends and consumers for their understanding,” adds Vivo.
The global spread of the Coronavirus continues. In China, the official death toll is now 1,016 while there are reports of more infections being confirmed in Asia, Europe and the US. The New York Times reports that people in a Hong Kong housing complex have been quarantined after the virus appeared to spread through the building’s pipes.
One of the first companies to pull out of the exhibition was Ericsson, which announced its statement last week. In its press release, Ericsson President and CEO Börje Ekholm said, “The health and safety of our employees, customers and other stakeholders are our highest priority. This is not a decision we have taken lightly. 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”. Over the weekend, Nvidia also made it clear that it will be skipping event in Barcelona. “Given public health risks around the coronavirus, ensuring the safety of our colleagues, partners and customers is our highest concern. We’ve been looking forward to sharing our work in AI, 5G and vRAN with the industry. We regret not attending, but believe this is the right decision,” the company said in an official statement. Earlier today, Sony also announced that their executives will not be traveling to Barcelona and the company will not have a presence at MWC 2020. Instead, the planned launches will be live-streamed globally on YouTube.