MWC claims 60,000 visitors as dates shift

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The GSM Association shifts dates for 2012 MWC in Barcelona as visitor numbers hit a record 60,000

Mobile World Congress is moving two weeks later in 2012 to the end of February as organisers report that more than 60,000 people turned up to the Barcelona event this week.
The GSM Association will have recorded two years of rising numbers at the Barcelona venue after the slump, caused by the recession, in 2009. During the event the organisers were hinting that the numbers would exceed 55,000, but now they are claiming to have doen 10% better than that, and way ahead of the number for 2010.
But the GSMA is moving away from years of tradition — dating back to when MWC’s predecessor, 3GSM, was in Cannes — by moving the event away from the middle of February.
In 2012 the event will open on Monday February 27 and close on Thursday March 1 — two weeks later than the usual dates.
For many years — though not in 2011 — the event clashed with Chinese new year, and the official view is that the GSMA has finally responded to years of complaints from Chinese delegates and exhibitors that the exhibition and conference interferes with major family celebrations.
In 2011, oddly, MWC did not clash with the new year celebration — which took place a week early, determined by the date of the new moon. But the event will have disrupted preparations and the GSMA is now listening to the Chinese exhibitors and conference participants.
However, a move by two weeks to the end of February means that there is no risk of clashes in future.
Next year’s event may be the last to take place in Barcelona, which is competing with Paris, Milan and Munich for the title of Mobile World City. The GSMA is offering a five-year contract for the event from 2013 onwards along with a plan to locate a mobile centre of excellence that will operate year-long. The GSMA will announce its choice in June 2011. GTB