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BREAKING NEWS: Amazon Quits MWC

Major brands are lining up to pull out the latest Mobile World Congress.

The latest is Amazon, after Ericsson, LG and Nvidia all announced their exit from the world’s biggest mobile conference, citing concerns over the spread of Coronavirus.

It’s yet another blow for to one of the telecom industry’s biggest gatherings which attracts over 100,000 visitors to Barcelona.

‘Due to the outbreak and continued concerns about novel coronavirus, Amazon will withdraw from exhibiting and participating in Mobile World Congress 2020, scheduled for Feb. 24-27 in Barcelona, Spain,’ the company said in a statement on Sunday.

Amazon had been planning a significant presence through its cloud computing arm AWS, which was due to host a full-day conference track during the first day of the international event.

(File Photo by: zz/Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx 2017 12/14/17)

The online retailer giant is the fourth company to withdraw from the annual gathering this week, following South Korea’s LG Electronics, Swedish equipment maker Ericsson and US chipmaker Nvidia.

The February 24 till 27 event is still set to go ahead as planned, the GSMA telecoms industry association, which runs the event, confirmed in a statement on Sunday before Amazon revealed they were exiting.

GSMA added that they were tightening health precautions to guard against the coronavirus outbreak.

No visitors will be allowed to attend the event who are from China’s Hubei province, where the coronavirus outbreak started, with visitors from China being forced to prove they have been outside the country for two weeks prior the event, GSMA said.

Visitors walk through a passageway at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) is taking place in Barcelona, Spain, 26 February 2018. (EPA/ALBERTO ESTEVEZ)

Near 5,000 to 6,000 visitors typically come from China to the MWC, where tech companies spend millions on stands and hospitality to fill their order books for the year ahead.

Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE have confirmed they are attending the event, ordering China-based staff to self-isolate ahead of the event to ensure they are free of illness, and drafting in European staff to cover those stranded.

The coronavirus death toll outbreak reached 811 on Sunday, surpassing the number globally killed by SARS, while total confirmed cases of the illness has reached 37,198.

The fatal virus has spread to at least 27 countries and territories, according to a Reuters count based on official reports, infecting more than 330 people outside China.

(Imaginechina via AP Images)

Two deaths have been reported outside mainland China – both of which being Chinese nationals.

More than two dozen large trade fairs and industry conferences in China and overseas have been postponed or struck by travel bans citing the spread of the virus, in what could potentially disrupt billions of dollars worth of deals.

Last week, CEO’s from Belkin, Cygnett and other supplying brands revealed that they are expecting a large shortage in stock parts and a further drop to the Australian dollar because of the coronavirus.

(EPA/Alberto Estevez)

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