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CES Asia the latest tech event to be called off amid global spread of coronavirus

All exhibitors that signed up with early payment for exhibit space in June will receive a refund in full, says organizer.

Photo by Ralf Leineweber on Unsplash Photo by Ralf Leineweber on Unsplash

CES Asia scheduled for June in Shanghai has been postponed, the latest major tech event forced to shelve plans amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The decision was taken for the well being of all stakeholders given the “evolving global concerns” about the fast-spreading disease, organizer the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) said in a statement on Monday.

The CTA did not provide a new date for the postponed event.

Since its launch in Shanghai in 2015, CES Asia has become one of the city’s major trade shows to showcase the latest gadgets and technologies for Chinese consumers, foreign buyers, and media.

“We made this decision at this time as we know companies and attendees invest considerable time and effort in planning for trade shows like CES Asia,” said the CTA. “Given the evolving global concerns about and impact of the coronavirus, we feel this is the best decision for everyone involved.”

All exhibitors that signed up with early payment for exhibit space for the dates June 10 to 12 will receive a refund in full, according to the organizer.

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The coronavirus has forced most tech conventions around the world to cancel. One of the earliest was in February when MWC Barcelona, the world’s biggest mobile industry gathering, was canceled less than two weeks before its opening after some of its biggest participants pulled out.

Over the weekend, the South by Southwest festival, a major tech and music event in Austin, Texas, was officially canceled over coronavirus concerns. Austin health officials said the decision was a precautionary measure and an effort to be proactive.

Tech companies have pulled events involving large gatherings amid the global spread of the outbreak. Google canceled its 2020 I/O developer conference that was due to take place in May, after it shifted its Cloud Next event scheduled for April to an online platform. Last month, Chinese search giant Baidu canceled a planned celebration event for its 20th year anniversary that was to take place in Beijing.

Facebook also canceled its in-person developer gathering F8, citing “growing concerns” around the coronavirus as the reason.

“This was a tough call to make – F8 is an incredibly important event for Facebook and it’s one of our favorite ways to celebrate all of you from around the world – but we need to prioritize the health and safety of our developer partners, employees and everyone who helps put F8 on,” the company said in a statement in February.

This article first appeared in the South China Morning Post.