LG bows out of Mobile World Congress citing coronavirus concerns

Victor Barreiro Jr.

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LG bows out of Mobile World Congress citing coronavirus concerns


(UPDATED) LG wants to remove the risk of coronavirus exposure. ZTE, which earlier said it wouldn't be attending, now says it will showcase 5G devices at MWC 2020.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Phone manufacturer LG said it would no longer be attending the 2020 Mobile World Congress (MWC 2020) in Barcelona, Spain due to concerns about the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak.

South Korea’s LG said in a statement it was protecting its workers from what the World Health Organization has deemed an international emergency.

“With the safety of its employees, partners, and customers foremost in mind, LG has decided to withdraw from exhibiting and participating in MWC 2020 later this month in Barcelona, Spain. This decision removes the risk of exposing hundreds of LG employees to international travel which has already become more restrictive as the virus continues to spread across borders.” LG said. 

LG added it would hold “separate events in the near future to announce its 2020 mobile products.” 

ZTE bows out then uncancels

Meanwhile, ZTE, which earlier told The Verge it would not be attending MWC 2020, appears to have reversed its earlier decision and will be attending the event. The company said in a press release and a tweet it would be showcasing new 5G devices and technology.


Earlier, a ZTE spokesperson said their absence from MWC 2020 was partly due to logistical issues, but also done to avoid stirring potential xenophobia coming about from the coronavirus. 

“[We] tend to be an overly courteous company, and simply don’t want to make people uncomfortable,” the ZTE representative explained.

Event preparations

The GSMA, which sets up the yearly Mobile World Congress, said it “is continuing to monitor and assess the potential impact of the Coronavirus on its MWC20 events held annually in Barcelona, Shanghai and Los Angeles and as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences.”

It will also be implementing measures to help reduce any possible sickness or infections, such as better disinfection and cleaning operations and increasing medical support at the event. (READ: Big Tech not immune to coronavirus)

At least 490 people have died in China alone as a result of the 2019-nCoV. – Rappler.com

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.