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VIRUS OUTBREAK

Intel, Vivo, LG drop out of key mobile fair

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US chip giant Intel and Chinese phonemaker Vivo withdrew from the Mobile World Congress (MWC) over coronavirus fears on Tuesday, adding to a lengthening list of industry heavyweights pulling out of the world's top mobile fair.

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US chip giant Intel and Chinese phonemaker Vivo withdrew from the Mobile World Congress (MWC) over coronavirus fears on Tuesday, adding to a lengthening list of industry heavyweights pulling out of the world's top mobile fair.

The annual Barcelona-based congress normally draws more than 100,000 people from all over the world, but this year, participation has been badly hit by the outbreak of the virus, which emerged in China at the end of the year and has since claimed more than 1,000 lives.

Over the past week, a string of major tech names have dropped out, among them Sony, Sweden's Ericsson, South Korean giant LG and Japan's NTT DoCoMo, raising questions as to whether the event would be cancelled.

"The safety and wellbeing of all our employees and partners is our top priority, and we have withdrawn from this year's Mobile World Congress out of an abundance of caution," said an Intel statement sent to AFP.

Vivo, which is one of the world's top five smartphone manufacturers, also confirmed it would not be present at the show, a key date in the tech calendar where firms unveil their latest gadgets and innovations.

"In light of the current situation, we have taken the decision not to attend MWC 2020 or any other associated event in Barcelona at the same time" it said, pledging to postpone the presentation of its latest mobile offering. Vivo is the second Chinese firm to withdraw from the show after Umidigi, a smaller handset maker, pulled out on Monday.

For now, China's top smartphone manufacture Huawei as well as its smaller rival ZTE are still set to attend and have said their executives and staff would undergo a self-imposed two-week quarantine period before appearing at the show.

US chipmaker Nvidia has also cancelled its appearance at the show, which is due to run from Feb 24-27 and normally includes between 5,000 to 6,000 participants from China, according to GSMA, the mobile trade association which organises the show. AFP

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