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MWC, 4YFN & E-Show 2023: Takeaways from the March Trade Shows in Barcelona

Published on 03/22/2023 - Updated on 03/24/2023

The city of our international HQs kicked off the month to a busy start. Read more about the events that filled up our schedule


As one of Europe’s major business centers, Barcelona hosts several influential events throughout the year, some of which are staples of our commercial calendar. This is the case with MWC – Mobile World Congress and E-Show, the latter being our first-ever exhibition abroad in 2013.

Now, ten years later, MWC and E-Show crowded Fira de Barcelona’s convention centers from the last days of February into the beginning of March. As in its latest editions, MWC also brought back 4YFN – Four Years from Now, enriching its program with a side fair to connect startups, investors, and stakeholders at large.

So, where exactly did Brazilian payment services come into MWC and E-Show Barcelona? Our specialists for cross-border operations were on site to find out and see what’s trending for the digital payments market. Read below to get a recap and see our impressions in full.


Stop #1: MWC Barcelona 2023 & 4YFN

“MWC Barcelona is back in full force.” The official statement by John Hoffman, CEO of GSMA – Global System for Mobile Communications, echoes the past tribulations of the world trade show, canceled in 2020 and slowly building up to its pre-pandemic prime.



Regarded as the world’s largest event for the mobile industry, MWC wrapped its 2023 edition counting 88,500 attendees and more than 3,000 industry professionals, among exhibitors, speakers, sponsors, and partners. 4YFN alone welcomed nearly 800 exhibitors, 400 speakers, and over 250 pitching sessions, advancing opportunities for startup businesses.



The numbers tell of a larger-than-life structure set to display global innovations, features, and solutions in connectivity, most with the potential to go mainstream in the years ahead.

Despite the absence of Apple, Google, and other tech giants, MWC was far from short on novelty and wonder. The wide array of gadgets, mobile experiences, and themes on show delivered both a taste of what is coming, as well as an opportunity to bridge the gap between Asian and western markets. Chinese companies like Huawei, Xiaomi, and BBK Electronics – whose products are increasingly removed from American audiences – showed up alongside South Korea’s Samsung and many European household brands, notably Finland’s Nokia.

With so much to cover at the same time, MWC and 4YFN felt a bit chaotic in their approach. However, for attendees with a driven mindset, there were large zones dedicated to networking – where International Account Manager Marina Scomazzon and Head of International Business Development André Almeida chatted with our prospects on March 2nd.


PagBrasil's International Account Manager Marina Scomazzon at MWC Barcelona 2023
International Account Manager Marina Scomazzon at MWC Barcelona 2023


“Many players attend MWC aiming to meet for business”, says Scomazzon. “We saw many mobile companies discussing the possibilities of 5G, what a successful partnership means in this industry, and how the metaverse might impact different kinds of businesses.”

The corporate uses of 5G and their implications for network architecture figured among the hottest topics at MWC. At the very opening of the event, GSMA launched its Open Gateway initiative, an ambitious project for telcos and developers worldwide to cooperate through shared, standardized APIs.

HMD also made waves announcing Nokia’s rebrand, aiming to establish the mobile phone manufacturer as an infrastructure trailblazer. Watch the video and see more of what the company brought to MWC.



→ Missed MWC Barcelona 2023?

See the highlights and watch the best keynotes at the event’s official website.


Stop #2: E-Show Barcelona 2023

A few days after MWC, on March 7th and 8th, we were in line at Fira Barcelona for the E-Show. On a local scale, the event is popular for presenting e-commerce trends for the Southern European audience, ranging from digital marketing to big data, analytics and artificial intelligence.

E-Show has been a long-time opportunity for us to understand the necessities of online businesses. Beyond in-person meetings, the show’s exhibitions and keynotes keep us up to date with new ways to connect digital products and services and share insight into how Brazil is appealing to European players.

“In every booth we went to, we asked companies if they already operated in Brazil or had any expansion forecast”, tells Scomazzon. “Most were either present in LatAm, specifically in Brazil, or considered the Brazilian market with great interest.”


Attendees in line for E-Show Barcelona 2023
Attendees in line for E-Show Barcelona 2023


E-Show showcases solutions for local merchants and connects them to potential service providers, which is especially attractive for those starting a new business or looking forward to boosting operations.

“What stood out for me this year was the number of companies selling multiple kinds of software to improve e-commerce visibility and deliver what the customer wants through machine learning and AI”, tells Scomazzon.

“We saw many local personalization services based either on content translation and optimization or on building websites tailored to specific markets.”

As referenced by Scomazzon, retail media was the top highlight at the show and is set to have its own feature at E-Show Madrid. Check Havas Market España’s full ranking of hot topics below (in Spanish):



E-Show Madrid 2023 will be held next in Pabellones 1 and 3 of IFEMA Madrid, on October 30th and 31st. Sign-up is open for exhibitors at the event’s official website.


→ Missed E-Show Barcelona 2023?

Keynotes are available on demand at the show’s official website until March 31st.


Next Stop: MPE 2023


International Account Manager Marina Scomazzon and Head of Business Development André Almeida at MWC Barcelona 2023
International Account Manager Marina Scomazzon and Head of Business Development André Almeida at MWC Barcelona 2023


For now, thanks for the ride, Barcelona! We are headed to Germany on March 28th as attendees of the Merchant Payments Ecosystem – MPE 2023.

MPE is set to gather merchants, payment service providers, financial institutions, and stakeholders at Intercontinental Hotel Berlin to discuss the future of global payments. You can chat on the spot with our specialist André Almeida booking an in-person meeting right away here.

And if you are not attending MPE 2023, stay tuned. In May, we return to Barcelona for ShopTalk Europe 2023, keynote speaking and all. Until then, keep in touch with us and explore our content for more information. See you soon!


Stefanie Cirne is a content writer experienced in news reporting, online content creation, copywriting, and social media management. Currently working... View profile

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