Xiaomi’s highly popular vice president, Hugo Barra, will soon be leaving the company to return to his roots in Silicon Valley. The fate of the Chinese manufacturer and Mr. Barra himself are shrouded in mystery.
Update: He’s joining the Facebook team in Silicon Valley!
No one but Barra and his close friends saw this coming. His last day will be right after next month’s Chinese New Year, after which he’ll “take some much-needed time off before embarking on a new adventure back in Silicon Valley.”
Barra was pivotal in turning Xiaomi into the international tech giant it is today. What began as a simple startup composed of just a few members nearly seven years ago, is now a multi-billion dollar company with revenues coming mostly out of China and India.
As the Global VP of Xiaomi for more than three years, Barra took control of their international push using his product management experience during his days as vice president of Google’s Android platform. The work he put into the Chinese company definitely paid off; what was once considered to be just an Apple copycat, now produces smartphones as groundbreaking as the Mi Mix and as well-rounded as the Redmi 4 Prime.
Despite his resignation, he believes Xiaomi is in good hands under the leadership of current CEO Lei Jun. It’s uncertain how this will affect the image of the brand, since Barra’s western background helped the company reach non-Chinese regions. It was only earlier this month when he took the stage at CES to show off Xiaomi’s best new products.
As for Barra, describing his next step as a “new adventure back in Silicon Valley” is terribly vague. Chances are we’ll be seeing him join forces with one of the already established tech leaders in San Francisco, California, or another startup altogether.
With rivals OPPO, Vivo, and Huawei leading smartphone sales in China, Xiaomi will have to regroup soon or else lose even more footing in the world’s largest handset market.
Update: As expected, Hugo Barra really is joining forces with an established tech company. In a post shared by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg himself, it says Barra will lead all of Facebook’s virtual reality efforts, including its Oculus team. Read the entire post below:
Image credit: Hugo Barra