Samsung isn’t the only major phone maker who won’t be announcing a new device at Mobile World Congress, the telecom industry’s largest event, next month. China’s Xiaomi will skip the event entirely, a spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch.
The move is an unexpected one since it was widely assumed Xiaomi would attend. Barcelona-based Mobile World Congress is one of the largest events for the global mobile industry, attracting over 100,000 attendees, and it has a reputation as the place to show off the latest developments in mobile.
Xiaomi used last year’s event to introduce the Mi5, its flagship smartphone, through a press event that was live-streamed. At the 2015 delegation, it raised its visibility in the West when Hugo Barra, its then head of international, took part in an interview on stage, explaining more about the then-under-the-radar company and its business.
Barra announced his departure from Xiaomi this week after a 3.5 year stint — he is moving to Facebook to lead its VR efforts — which could be one reason why Xiaomi won’t be at MWC, but TechCrunch understands that it is primarily staying away because it doesn’t have new devices launching during the show. So that means rumors of the Mi6’s impending launch around the time of the event are wide of the mark.
This doesn’t mark a retreat or a sign that Xiaomi is allergic to events in the West, though. It launched a new smart TV and talked strategy at CES in Las Vegas earlier this month, and we understand that it does have plans to attend, and arrange, other events outside of…
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