GSMA bravely commits to MWC Shanghai physical event in Feb 2021

All flavours of MWC were cancelled in 2020 coz of coronavirus, but the GSMA is betting things are going to start improving rapidly next year.

MWC Shanghai 2021 is scheduled to run as a physical event from 23 to 25 February at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre. While it’s hard to know what the situation is on the ground in China regarding COVID-19 due to the opacity of the Chinese state, this decision does at least seem to indicate things are under control over there.

“MWC21 Shanghai is far more than just an event,” said John Hoffman, CEO of GSMA Ltd, the bit that does commercial stuff. “It’s a celebration of the power of intelligent connectivity and provides a platform for people to come together and push the industry and society forward. Bringing the MWC series of events back for 2021 has taken a superhuman effort, and we are looking forward to welcoming the mobile ecosystem back to Shanghai in February.”

How much of that ecosystem will make an appearance remains to be seen. The GSMA can presumably count on strong Chinese attendance, but concerns about mass gatherings turning into a giant petri dish remain. If China has managed to get on top of the pandemic then it will presumably be reluctant to let people fly in from countries that have been less fortunate.

That’s presumably why the GSMA is going for a hybrid approach. “MWC Shanghai will welcome international attendees and audiences, with a virtual platform to accompany the physical event,” explains the announcement. “Online attendees will be able to access live conference and partner content online.”

We understand the GSMA itself isn’t preventing international attendees but, of course, it’s beholden to the Chinese government travel rules, so it’s just trying to provide an alternative to those who can’t or don’t want to risk travelling. MWC Barcelona is still planned for next summer, when there’s a fighting chance that the pandemic will be in abeyance, but we still wouldn’t be surprised to see the virtual platform make another appearance then, too.

  • MWC19 Los Angeles

  • MWC20 Barcelona

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.