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Crisis at Xiaomi? Barra quits for Facebook and Mi 6 to miss February launch

Xiaomi has long talked of being the ‘Apple of China’, but the aspirational company now faces a pair of major setbacks, after it lost key executive Hugo Barra to Facebook and subsequently scrapped its plans to attend Mobile World Congress this year.

Former Google man Barra left Xiaomi earlier in the week. He had served as its VP of International for three-and-a-half years, where he helped the Beijing-based firm make inroads into the global mobile market.

However, Barra is now moving on and his destination has been confirmed – he’ll be joining Facebook to lead its VR charge.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the news, predictably, on Facebook:

“I’m excited that Hugo Barra is joining Facebook to lead all of our virtual reality efforts, including our Oculus team. Hugo’s in China right now, so here we are together in VR. It seems fitting.”

The defection has left Xiaomi’s ongoing international plans in the lurch, and according to TechCrunch, the company will now pass on this year’s Mobile World Congress.

That’s not as big a shock as it sounds, as Barra had been the firm’s primary spokesperson at western media events.

However, it does mean that one of the devices we were expecting to see at MWC this year, the Xiaomi Mi 6, will join the Galaxy S8 in skipping the event.

Instead, Xiaomi is being tipped to stage its own event later in the year to unveil the new flagship, though when and where is a bit of a mystery.

Don’t worry, though, as there are still plenty of devices set to launch in Barcelona this year, including the LG G6, BlackBerry Mercury, Nokia Android phone, and much more.

Watch: MWC 2017

Are you disappointed Xiaomi is missing MWC this year? Let us know in the comments below.