After earlier reports that ZTE would abandon its press conference at MWC 2020, the company has issued a press release today confirming that it would – mostly – be present at MWC and participating in the conference as normal.
Earlier reports had indicated that ZTE would no longer be holding its premier press conference, and that due to visa concerns and travel restrictions, many of its executives would not be in attendance. With LG pulling the pin entirely today – and the two brands being linked in (effectively) pulling out of MWC – ZTE has moved to set the record straight.
The release reads:
ZTE always put the health of our employees and customers as priority. In accordance with the relevant guidelines of the Chinese health department and WHO, ZTE has adopted a series of strong prevention, control and safeguard measures.
1. ZTE will ensure that all employees from mainland China, including non-Chinese nationals, have no symptoms for 2 weeks before departure and arrival in the MWC. Additional at the current time all employees are required to undergo 2 weeks self-isolation to ensure the health and safety of all our staff.
2. ZTE will ensure that all the senior executives of our company participating in the high-level meetings will self-isolate themselves in Europe for at least two weeks prior to MWC.
3. ZTE will ensure that the exhibition stand and equipment are disinfected daily.
4. ZTE will ensure that our booth presentation staff are all from countries outside China, and mainly from Europe. At the same time, we are working closely with the GSMA to ensure that you have a safe, comfortable and meaningful visit.
These seem like some prudent steps to take, especially requiring that its senior executives arrive in Europe two weeks ahead of MWC so that they can self-isolate and ensure they’re not carrying or affected by the novel coronavirus during the conference times. Equally, regularly disinfecting the surfaces of its stand is best practice, and should minimise risk.
The fourth point above is a bit of an unusual one. For starters, most booth staff are locally engaged workers anyway – even companies not based in Europe typically hire locally based event/promotional staff to man their booths, so it seems unusual that ZTE would announce it’s doing this, given it – and other brands – typically do, anyway.
Specifying, though, that it would engage staff from countries outside China is an unusual statement. Is it intended to minimise the risk of employing staff that may be carriers for novel coronavirus, or is it more to appease perceptions .. especially given that ZTE’s earlier statement.
A ZTE spokesperson earlier commented to The Verge:
It’s partly due to practical issues like travel and visa delays, a spokesperson tells The Verge — some people weren’t going to make it to Barcelona in time anyhow — but the mild case of xenophobia that accompanies the disease may also play a role. “[We] tend to be an overly courteous company, and simply don’t want to make people uncomfortable,” writes the rep.
Whatever the reasoning behind ZTE’s moves, we can only commend the company on taking a cautious approach.