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StanChart, HBSC Offer Loan Relief As Coronavirus Keeps Cos Away From MWC

StanChart, HBSC Among Hong Kong Banks Offering Clients Loan Relief As Virus Keeps Cos Away From MWC

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona is in trouble, as three more companies have dropped out over coronavirus fears, according to Reuters.

On Tuesday (Feb 11), Sprint, Cisco and Facebook all dropped out of the conference, which lasts four days and usually attracts about 100,000 visitors. Other companies like Sony, NTT Docomo, Intel and NVIDIA have also dropped out of the conference.

“While we are extremely disappointed that we cannot continue with this event as planned. We believe this is the right decision, given the current circumstances,” said a Cisco spokeswoman.

The virus originated in Wuhan, and has prompted companies around the world to restrict travel. About 1,000 people have been killed by the virus, and 40,000 are infected across 24 countries. 

The MWC, the biggest conference of the telecom industry in the world, is set to start on Feb. 24 in Barcelona. Companies usually spend millions of dollars there. Catalan Regional Health Councillor Alba Verges said there’s no “objective cause” for any companies to not want to attend.

In other coronavirus news, banks in Hong Kong are offering relief to customers during the health scare. Standard Chartered and HSBC are both giving billions of dollars in relief money to borrowers, as the virus continues in its threat to throttle an already fragile economy. 

Standard Chartered said clients with good repayment histories could make half a year’s worth of interest-only mortgage payments, and that it would offer a similar deal on some commercial loans.

HSBC said it would provide HK$30 billion ($3.9 billion USD) in liquidity relief for some businesses. This would include support of HK$10 million for customers of trade finance, and provide a moratorium on principal obligations for commercial loans that were received against certain property. 

Standard Chartered is Hong Kong’s largest single market, and it accounted for 80 percent of HSBC’s profit when combined with China.

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