A few days ago, Xiaomi’s global VP Hugo Barra confirmed on Twitter that the company would be releasing the next eagerly-anticipated smartphone on February 24. Just a few hours ago, Barra took to Facebook to announce that a media preview for the Xiaomi Mi 5 will take place in Barcelona during MWC while the launch event takes place in Beijing…

While it may not seem a big deal to have a smartphone announced at MWC, it’s very intriguing to see Xiaomi host its very first media event at the European conference. To me, it speaks volumes about the company’s international objectives.

Mi 5 update — This week we announced the official launch date for Xiaomi’s upcoming flagship Mi 5. Today, I’m excited to tell you guys that, for the first time ever, Xiaomi will also showcase Mi 5 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. We’re holding an invitation-only media preview on February 24, the very same day of our launch event in Beijing, and I’ll be on stage :-)

Stay tuned! I cannot wait to show you guys Mi 5. It’s really all you ever imagined, and more…

Xiaomi traditionally launches its devices in China, for the Chinese and Indian markets (among a few others). It’s virtually non-existent in established western markets like the US, UK or mainland Europe. For it to be using MWC as a platform for its next major flagship could indicate that it’s about to expand its operations to include those more developed markets.

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Although the exact venue for the announcement in Barcelona isn’t confirmed in the post, we do know the unveiling will take place at 8:20AM local time (2:20AM Eastern).

Confirmed details regarding the Mi 5’s features and specifications are thin on the ground, to say the least. We know the device will ship with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor, and that’s about it. Rumors have claimed it will have a QHD resolution 5.2-inch display, and have a 6-element 16MP camera on the back with 4K video recording.

Whatever the exact specifications of the Mi 5, it’s clear that its launch is a much bigger deal to Xiaomi than any previous handset. With Huawei (its biggest Chinese competitor) having seen so much success in international markets, Xiaomi must be planning to respond by competing with the world’s third biggest smartphone vendor overseas, for the first time.

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