Chinese computer maker Lenovo and ByteDance-owned TikTok have joined General Motors, Google and Facebook in deciding not to attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), one of the world’s largest and most influential trade and retail shows.
The companies decided to appear only virtually due to rising Covid-19 infections in the US.
GM chief executive Mary Barra had been scheduled to give a keynote speech at the annual conference in Las Vegas on January 5, during which the company would have shown its electric Silverado pickup truck for the first time.
Barra will still make the speech and presentation remotely, a spokesman said.
“We have decided to move to an all-digital approach with our activation at CES 2022 in January,” the US automaker said in a statement.
A Google spokesperson said in a statement: “After careful consideration we have decided to withhold from having a presence on the show floor of CES 2022”.
Waymo, Google’s autonomous driving unit, said in a blog post that it hopes to participate virtually if possible at the Las Vegas event, which traditionally has drawn over 180,000 people from around the world.
TikTok said it would hold a virtual event for partners and advertisers, while Intel said it would minimise staffing at CES.
“The health and safety of our employees, partners and customers is always a top priority,” the chipmaker said. “Our plans for CES will move to a digital-first, live experience, with minimal on-site staff.”
Several other companies, including Facebook parent Meta Platforms, Twitter, AT&T and Amazon.com, dropped in-person attendance plans earlier this week, saying they would not send employees out of caution over the spread of Omicron.
CES officials said the event will still be held in person from January 5-8 with “strong safety measures in place,” including vaccination requirements, masking and availability of Covid-19 tests.
- Reuters with additional editing by George Russell