Mobile World Congress Trade Show In Barcelona Cancelled Over Coronavirus Fears Organizers have called off the annual Mobile World Congress in Spain after a slew of high-profile tech companies pulled out, citing concerns over the spreading coronavirus outbreak.
NPR logo Major Smartphone Trade Show Canceled In Barcelona Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Major Smartphone Trade Show Canceled In Barcelona Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Organziers of the Mobile World Congress had resisted calls to cancel the event, but reversed course after major companies pulled out over coronavirus fears. Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images

Organziers of the Mobile World Congress had resisted calls to cancel the event, but reversed course after major companies pulled out over coronavirus fears.

Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images

One of the world's biggest trade shows has been cancelled as mounting concerns over the coronavirus outbreak ripple across the business world.

Organizers called off the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, after big-name participants pulled out.

The annual conference, scheduled to kick off on Feb. 24, is a marquee event for the city of Barcelona and for the mobile phone industry. It typically attracts more than 100,000 attendees each year who come to check out the latest in smartphone technology.

But in recent days, companies from Sony and Intel to Amazon and Facebook said they would stay away because of worries about the safety of their employees.

The conference organizer, GSMA, initially resisted calls to cancel. It said it would put in place health precautions including scanning body temperatures, and advised attendees against shaking hands.

Still, companies kept pulling out, and on Wednesday, GSMA reversed course.

"The global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event," the group's CEO, John Hoffman, said in a statement.

Other trade shows and business events have also been affected by the outbreak. More than two dozen industry conferences in Asia have been postponed, Reuters reported. Watchmaker Swatch canceled an event in Zurich planned for late February.