Business

Cisco, Facebook pull out of Mobile World Congress over epidemic

BARCELONA Cisco Systems, Sprint and Facebook on Tuesday became the latest US technology companies to pull out of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona due to the coronavirus outbreak.

A number of companies ranging from Japan's NTT Docomo and Sony to US chipmakers Intel and Nvidia have already dropped out of the four-day international telecom conference that draws in more than 100,000 visitors.

"While we are extremely disappointed that we cannot continue with this event as planned, we believe this is the right decision given the current circumstances," a Cisco spokesman said.

The virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has spread across the world, prompting many companies to restrict travel to and from the country.

Named Covid-19, it has so far killed more than 1,100 people and infected more than 44,600 in China.

MWC, set to kick off on Feb 24, is the telecom industry's biggest annual gathering, with companies spending millions on stands and hospitality to fill their order books.

GSMA, the organiser of the event, will be having a board meeting tomorrow to decide if the event should be cancelled.

Chinese companies, including Huawei, ZTE, Oppo and Xiaomi are still attending the event. - REUTERS

BUSINESS & FINANCE