BUSINESS

LG Electronics not joining MWC 2020 over coronavirus fears

By Shim Woo-hyun

Other Korean companies looking at ways to address safety concerns

  • Published : Feb 5, 2020 - 14:27
  • Updated : Feb 5, 2020 - 17:07

(MWC’s official website)

LG Electronics said Wednesday that the company was canceling its exhibition at Mobile World Congress 2020 in Barcelona, Spain, amid growing concerns over the new coronavirus that recently emerged in Wuhan, China.

The company said it had decided to withdraw from MWC 2020 out of concern for the safety of its employees and the public. This is the first time LG Electronics will not have a presence at the mobile trade show, which takes place every February in Barcelona.

LG is the first South Korean company to withdraw. Previously, China-based ZTE Corp. canceled its MWC press conference.

At the trade show, LG had planned to introduce its next-generation flagship smartphones V60 ThinQ and LG G9 ThinQ, hoping to make a rebound after the company’s G8 ThinQ received a lackluster reception from the global market.

The company said in its statement that it would hold a separate event later to showcase its new products, adding that there would be no change to the official launch date for its new smartphones.

Despite the cancellation of the exhibition, LG said the company would proceed with meetings with global telecommunication firms in Barcelona as scheduled.

Following LG Electronics’ decision, other Korean firms are reviewing their plans for MWC 2020.

SK Telecom officially canceled CEO Park Jung-ho’s press conference at MWC 2020. The company confirmed that it would proceed with the exhibition as scheduled while taking preventive measures.

Mobile carrier LG Uplus canceled the press conference of its CEO and Vice Chairman Ha Hyun-hwoi.

KT said it would proceed with its exhibition as planned, but the size of its contingent might have to be scaled down. The company said it would make related decisions later this week.

Kia Motors, which was to hold its first exhibition at MWC, said the company was discussing the issue as well.

It is uncertain whether other Korean firms will follow in the footsteps of LG Electronics, as industry sources say penalties might arise in connection with contracts with MWC organizer GSMA.

Companies that cancel exhibitions could also face consequences when scheduling future MWC events, the sources added.

Other companies sending groups of employees, including Samsung, are currently monitoring the situation, the sources said.

MWC 2019 attracted more than 100,000 attendees, of whom 27 percent were based in China.

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)



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