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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Reaction Spreads through Mobile Computing Industry

by Eric Smith | 2月 13, 2020

It remains to be seen whether travel restrictions, extended Lunar New Year holidays, and quarantines are simply fear and panic or prudent public health policy, but one thing is certain: the reaction to coronavirus (COVID-19) is negatively affecting the mobile computing market.

The GSMA has officially cancelled Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020 after over a dozen high-profile companies like Ericsson, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Sony, HMD, and Intel announced they would no longer attend the event due to contagion fears. This is a potentially big blow to how the mobile industry develops in 2020, a year which was slated to be crucial for 5G adoption now that networks are expanding all around the world.

The most important thing to remember is that the PC market is already facing supply issues due to Intel chip shortages and various efforts to re-locate production and sourcing to avoid the costs associated with the US-China trade war. Some vendors have had a difficult time meeting customer demand due to the Intel chip shortage in recent quarters and this will only exacerbate that issue. For others, there has already been a concerted effort to build up inventory and the supply-side impact will be more limited.

From a consumer demand standpoint, there are a different set of challenges but they mostly fall on one vendor. Having been backed into the Chinese market due to US trade restrictions, Huawei’s tablet business is now in a very difficult position in early 2020 due to the barriers to movement in China (e.g., transportation restrictions, temperature checkpoints before entering buildings) and the voluntary caution of people staying home.


Get in touch for more details or check out our recent report on COVID-19, which raises key questions for all companies in the mobile computing business and provides the precise impacts we should expect to see for different branded vendors.

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