Xiaomi’s international head Hugo Barra calls it quits

By : |January 23, 2017 0

Hugo Barra, the man behind Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi’s aggressive international expansion drive has called it quits after a 3.5 year stint.

Former Android executive announced on Facebook that he’ll be leaving Xiaomi and returning to Silicon Valley. “What I’ve realized is that the last few years of living in such a singular environment have taken a huge toll on my life and started affecting my health. My friends, what I consider to be my home, and my life are back in Silicon Valley, which is also much closer to my family. Seeing how much I’ve left behind these past few years, it is clear to me that the time has come to return,” wrote Barra in his Facebook post.

He also called his time in Beijing “the greatest and most challenging adventure of my life,” and said he feels he’s leaving Xiaomi in a “good place on its global expansion path.” Barra was roped in to join Xiaomi back in 2013 when the company business was limited to Greater China.

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While Xiaomi sold 7.5 million smartphones in 2012 and just two years later in 2014, it sold 61 million — growth of nearly 800 percent. However, CEO Lei Jun recently admitted that such expansion was too rapid and unsustainable. “In the first few years, we pushed ahead too fast. We created a miracle, but also drew on some long-term growth,” Lei said last week.

“When Hugo joined us 3.5 years ago, we started an amazing adventure to turn Xiaomi into a global player. We have come a long way since, and I couldn’t thank him enough for contributing so much to Xiaomi’s journey. As much as we would love to have Hugo stay with us in Beijing for a much longer time, we understand his personal challenges and wish him all the best in his future endeavors,” Xiaomi co-founder Bin Lin said about Barra.

He also added that senior vice president Xiang Wang would lead Xiaomi’s international business going forward. Wang, a former head of Qualcomm China, joined Xiaomi in 2015 and previously led its supply chain and intellectual property teams.

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