An international telecommunications conference in Barcelona, which will attract more than 100,000 visitors, will take place this month as planned, the organizer said, even after Korea's LG Electronics had withdrawn due to the outbreak of the corona virus.
The Mobile World Congress has been under scrutiny since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus epidemic an internationally worrying health emergency.
The GSMA, an industry association representing more than 750 operators and 400 companies in the mobile communications sector, said it had had minimal impact on the event so far, which would take place from February 24-27, according to schedule.
"We spoke to LG and regret not seeing her at this year's MWC20 in Barcelona," said a GSMA spokesman in response to a Reuters request following the South Korean electronics company's announcement.
The association announced measures this week to help prevent the virus from spreading to the three main venues, including switching microphones between speakers and advising all participants to introduce a no-handshake policy.
The newly identified virus, which first appeared in Wuhan at the end of last year, killed nearly 500 people in China, one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.
Mainland China has reported more than 24,000 confirmed cases, while more than 150 cases have been confirmed in two dozen countries and regions around the world.
Chinese company Huawei Technologies announced on Wednesday that it would attend the congress as planned. "We are keeping a close eye on things and have to adapt ourselves internally accordingly and responsibly," said a spokesman.
China's ZTE Corp. and mobile phone maker Oppo announced that they will continue their plans to attend the event, while IT service provider NEC Corp. will advance his plans to participate.
ZTE Corp said that all employees and management traveling from mainland China to Congress would be isolated for two weeks after arriving in Europe, and the company would also disinfect their booth daily. However, the company said that the majority of employees present would travel from Europe rather than mainland China.
According to South Korean media, LG Elecronics, which is losing money in the mobile business, plans to launch its new flagship smartphones at the convention.
According to the GSMA report, around 6% of the Mobile World Congress participants came from China in 2019. Most visitors came from Europe, around 64%, as did about 45% of the exhibitors.
The GSMA estimates that the Mobile World Congress boosted the local economy in Barcelona last year by around 470 million euros (520 million US dollars) when delegates packed the city's contacts with hotels, wine and food and taxis on the sprawling Fira exhibition center stacked the event.