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SARS cancels Singapore trade show

The CommunicAsia 2003 show has been scrapped entirely because of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

The CommunicAsia 2003 trade show has been scrapped because of the SARS outbreak, the organizer said Thursday.

The Singapore event, which also includes BroadcastAsia, was scheduled for June 17 to 20. It will not take place again until next year.

"This is a very difficult decision borne out of necessity due to the (SARS) severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak, and the lack of options for a suitable timeframe in which to reschedule the events," said Stephen Tan, chief executive of organizer Singapore Exhibition Services.

CommunicAsia 2003 will be canceled--not postponed--because moving it to later in the year will make it clash with major tech events, said SES.

SARS has infected 5,660 people worldwide and killed more than 370 since emerging in China late last year, according to the World Health Organization.

SES polled exhibitors for their views on whether to postpone or scrap the 2003 show, and it is believed that many said their calendar was already filled for the rest of the year.

"Postponing the shows to the second half of the year was considered but no suitable alternative window was available as the world calendar for this period is already filled with other events such as BIRTV (Beijing), IBC (Amsterdam), ITU World Telecom (Geneva), CTIA Wireless (Las Vegas), InterBee (Japan) and Comdex (Las Vegas)," according to the SES statement.

The next CommunicAsia show is scheduled to take place June 15 to 18 next year.

At CommunicAsia 2002, there were about 1,450 exhibiting companies and 37,000 visitors. Participants last year included Microsoft, Kyocera, Sony Ericsson, Agilent Technologies, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic, Samsung, Siemens and Hewlett-Packard.

Michele Soon, a spokeswoman for SES, said it was too soon to say whether exhibitors would be given refunds for deposits. The company will be talking to exhibitors on Friday to "sort out the details", she said.

Thursday's announcement follows the postponement of the Computex Taipei 2003 trade show in Taiwan.

CNETAsia's John Lui reported from Singapore.