Each year’s Mobile World Congress event is a major trade show on the international scene akin to what CES is for the U.S. market. For MWC 2017 coming up in Barcelona, one of the world’s major smartphone and electronics giants – Xiaomi – will not be making an appearance. This latest revelation is another hit for the company which also lost the head of their global expansion efforts, Hugo Barra, to Facebook.
Perhaps one of the key takeaways from Xiaomi’s decision to not make an appearance at MWC 2017 is that their next major smartphone release, the Xiaomi Mi6, meant to replace the Mi5 announced at last year’s MWC event is still a ways off. The lack of a major smartphone launch is believed to be the primary reason for Xiaomi pulling out, although sources have suggested other pressure points may be in play.
Sources have noted that for the first time since Xiaomi launched about five years ago, they have not revealed the number of smartphones sold during the past year. This is likely because sales did not meet expectations, such expectations including a very high growth rate for the young company. During 2016 Xiaomi also saw Huawei and OPPO rise up to surpass Xiaomi in the Chinese market.
In a bit of good news though, Xiaomi has seen revenues from the Indian market exceed $1 billion. However, it is not clear how the rest of Xiaomi’s globalization efforts have been going. With Barra’s departure, that will become even more of a challenge.
The recent news regarding Barra and now Xiaomi’s absence from MWC 2017 come on the heels of a frank admission from the company’s CEO, Lei Jun, that the company had grown too fast in its early years and for 2017 would slow things down a notch. Missing out on a major global trade show is certainly consistent with that statement.