Xiaomi, the Chinese internet company that was valued at $45 billion, will hold a press conference at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona next month to launch its Mi 5 flagship smartphone, but the company says it has no plans to announce an expansion into the European market — at the moment.
This is the first time the Chinese company will be attending MWC in an official capacity and the launch event in Barcelona will take place at the same time as the company's Spring Conference in Beijing, where the Mi 5 will also be launched.
Xiaomi, the world's fifth-biggest smartphone maker in 2015, according to figures from market research company IDC, currently sells its smartphones in a limited number of countries in Asia and South America, with China its most important market by far. The company has said it is considering launching its smartphones in mature markets like western Europe and the U.S., but analysts predict it will face tough market conditions with potential patent litigation from bigger players.
Xiaomi previously showcased its smartphone hardware to U.S. media in February 2015 when it visited San Francisco. At MWC, which is second only to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in terms of importance for the consumer technology industry, it will address a much broader audience of journalists and analysts. Samsung, LG and Sony are all expected to launch major smartphones at the show next month.
When asked if attendance at MWC could signal an announcement about an expansion into Europe, a company spokesperson told International Business Times that this was simply a showcase and it doesn't "have any plans to announce regarding expansion into new countries ."
At MWC, Xiaomi's head of global development and former head of Android at Google, Hugo Barra, will launch the Mi 5, which is an update to Xiaomi's premium smartphone line. It is expected to have a high resolution 5.2-inch screen along with a 16 megapixel camera and fingerprint sensor. The phone will also be powered by Qualcomm's latest mobile chip, the Snapdragon 820.
The next 12 months will be crucial for Xiaomi as it seeks to back up the huge $45 billion valuation it received following a $1.1 billion funding round in January last year. The company missed internal smartphone sales and revenue targets in 2015 and will be keen to show investors that it can bounce back in 2016.