The new virus from China has pulled the plug on the world’s biggest wireless technology trade show. The Mobile World Congress, scheduled for late February, was canceled after a string of big name tech companies said they would not attend over worries about health and safety of staff and visitors at the event in Barcelona, Spain. The show was among a raft of business and sporting events cancelled or postponed amid concerns about the viral outbreak, which has infected tens of thousands and killed nearly 2,000 dead, most of them in China.
Exhibitors were concerned about the spread of infection at MWC, a technology extravaganza that was expected to attract more than 100,000 people, including 5,000-6,000 from China. The show’s attendance has roughly doubled over the past decade, underscoring the mobile industry’s rapid growth. It’s an important deal-making event for executives from wireless carriers and networking gear makers, as well as big tech companies and small startups. But after this year’s cancellation, it’s likely that the deals will still be made, raising questions about the show’s importance.