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AI, future of 5G and tech sector challenges dominate at GSMA MWC Shanghai

GSMA CEO John Hoffman speaks to Euronews' Business Editor Angela Barnes at GSMA MWC Shanghai
GSMA CEO John Hoffman speaks to Euronews' Business Editor Angela Barnes at GSMA MWC Shanghai Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Angela Barnes
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GSMA MWC Shanghai 2024 concluded with the show‘s largest ever international participation, welcoming nearly 40,000 attendees from a record 124 countries and territories for three days of innovation showcasing and collaboration.


Under the theme of Future First, MWC Shanghai’s programme and sub themes explored the AI economy, 5G Advanced and beyond, Manufacturing DX and GSMA Open Gateway. From microchips and IoT to the latest AI and 5G products and services, the event saw hundreds of exhibitors showcase the technologies transforming our world.

John Hoffman, CEO of GSMA Ltd., said: “MWC Shanghai is a truly future-facing event that gives attendees insights of the connectivity innovations that will transform our world. This year we have seen more international attendees and it’s wonderful to see that global business is back; as I’ve walked around the five event halls, I’ve seen companies and people from all over the world.”

Economic boost from MWC events

During the event, John Hoffman also spoke to Euronews' Angela Barnes about the expected economic boost from MWC Shanghai.

"Well, our event in Barcelona is much bigger. It's about five or six times as big. But in Barcelona, we just recently announced €502 million of economic impact to Barcelona, Catalonia in Spain. And since we've been in Barcelona since, 2006, we've generated more than €6.9 billion of economic impact and created a lot of part time jobs, good tech jobs that are, you know, coming in. With the event now here in Shanghai, we're not at the same scale yet but...I would expect that it will maybe be close to €100 million of economic impact here from MWC Shanghai," he said.

Hoffman also talked about the trends he was most excited about at this year's MWC Shanghai.

"We're seeing a lot under our theme of Future First....China is very advanced in 5G. 5G now 5G-Advanced is taking hold. China mobile is one of the global leaders in deployment. China Unicom, China Telecom are trialing the network. But we also have a lot of other topics, a lot around generative AI. It's a it's a really, really, really big topic.

"And then we've got all of our verticals. So we've got health vertical, we've got transportation vertical, we've got pharmaceutical verticals, we've got the arts here. And it's it's really kind of everything under one roof. Mobility, connectivity is at the core but the vertical applications are really going to drive digital transformation. And that's what MWC Shanghai is all about," he said.

Challenges for the tech sector to overcome

Hoffman also spoke to Euronews about the current industry challenges for the tech sector.

"I think there was a lot of optimism for technology leading us in the right direction and then figuring out how to ethically use technology. You know, we have a lot of work to do. We've most of the world with 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G....6G will be coming, but we still have a lot of gaps. We have some coverage gaps, which we're going to close with non-terrestrial satellite.

"But then we have the usage gap. And the usage gap is a very large number. Billions of people that live under the umbrella of digital coverage but don't have access to it yet. It could be because of price, device capabilities, language. There are many, many factors and especially gender issues. We find that, women around the world still are not at the same level of ability to connect to the internet, the mobile internet. And so those are the kinds of challenges that the GSMA and our colleagues around the world are working very diligently to help solve," Hoffman said.

The GSMA CEO said the changes needed won't happen overnight but noted how things are moving rapidly.

"Technology will continue to evolve but it's how we are more inclusive and in helping solve some of the world's problems through mobile technology and connectivity. And that's what gets me up every morning and prompts me to come to work and do good things," Hoffman also told Euronews.

Watch the full interview above.

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