MWC wireless technology fair in Barcelona, February 27, 2023. Pictured is Huawei's stand.
Barcelona (Spain) – The wireless technology fair MWC is taking place in Barcelona from today. Despite the Western sanctions, the Chinese company Huawei dominates there, news is also expected from other Chinese brands Honor and OnePlus, but also from, for example, the Finnish smartphone manufacturer HMD Nokia. As the covid-19 pandemic subsides, organizers are expecting tens of thousands of visitors from more than 200 countries.
“China is represented very strongly,” John Hoffman, CEO of the wireless industry trade organization GSMA, told reporters. The group is also the organizer of the event. Of the roughly two thousand exhibitors and sponsors, 150 Chinese companies are participating, with the smartphone and network equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies having the largest presence. The company rented a 50 percent larger exhibition area compared to last year, the organizers said.
From the point of view of focusing on consumers, the MWC trade fair is mainly a showcase of smartphones and related technologies. But according to experts, it seems that key players like Samsung and Sony are not preparing any major announcements for the event. “And you can forget about Apple,” wrote The Verge server.
This year's motto is Velocity: Unleashing tomorrow's technology – today. That is, the speed and technology of tomorrow. Attention will thus focus on the further acceleration of fifth generation (5G) networks, on augmented reality and in general on the progress of digitization.
Huawei has been the target of American sanctions for several years, and later some other Western countries joined the United States. , which blacklisted the company. They claim that Huawei's smartphones and networks pose a security risk and that the company's technology is being used by the Chinese government for spying. Beijing has repeatedly denied this. Given these circumstances, it is remarkable how much space the company occupied at the fair, the AP agency reported.
The dispute over the Chinese app TikTok is also contributing to the tension between China and the United States. The latest European Commission banned its employees from using this application last week, citing a security threat. Recently, Chinese balloons over the territory of the United States, which Washington described as espionage, have also contributed to the tension.
The Chinese brands Honor, Oppo and Xiaomi are strongly represented at the fair in Barcelona. Honor was part of Huawei and focused on cheaper devices, but in 2020 Huawei sold the brand in the hope that it would be able to gain a better foothold in the market by not being associated with Western sanctions imposed on the parent company.
” The end of the restrictive measures imposed in China due to covid has allowed these manufacturers to attend the fair in large numbers,” said CCS Insight Principal Analyst Ben Wood. “All of them are very interested in establishing themselves in the European market as a 'third alternative' to Apple and Samsung, so they consider the MWC fair to be crucial,” Wood added.
In 2019, i.e. before the pandemic, to the MWC fair approximately 109,000 people visited, of which six percent were from China. In 2020, the fair was canceled due to the pandemic, it returned a year later, but on a limited scale and under strict anti-pandemic measures. Last year, the event attracted about 60,000 visitors, but it was overshadowed by the omikron coronavirus variant.
According to the organizers, this year's event could be busier again at the Fira exhibition center. The MWC trade fair, the largest of its kind in the world, will last until Thursday.