KEY POINTS

  • The Mobile World Congress, the world's largest mobile trade show, has been called off to prevent the spread of the coronavirus
  • The MWC is a four-day conference at the end of February that attracts more than 100,000 attendees from 200 countries. 
  • Some tech companies, such as Facebook and Intel, already had called off their participation in the event 

The Mobile World Congress, an annual trade show dedicated to the mobile communications industry, was called off on Wednesday due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. The event, which is run by the GSM Association, had been scheduled for Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain. 

“With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has canceled 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,” association CEO John Hoffman said. The event claims to attract 109,000 attendees from 200 countries.

Major tech companies, such as Facebook, Amazon, Intel and Cisco, already had announced they would not participate in the event. The cancellation will likely be a huge financial hit for the GSMA. 

The coronavirus has so far killed more than 1,100 people, and infected more than 45,000 individuals globally, with the vast majority of cases in China. The virus originated at an animal and seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan and remains concentrated in the region. 

Beijing has put millions of Chinese on lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus. International companies, such as Apple and Google, have temporarily closed down their offices and stores in China.