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When Hugo Barra announced that he was leaving Google for Xiaomi back in 2013, there were many people questioning the move. But after overseeing the company’s international expansion, it’s hard to argue with the decision.
Now, Barra has announced his departure from the Chinese smartphone firm, using an open letter on Facebook to reveal the news.
“When [Xiaomi founders – ed] Lei Jun and Bin Lin came to me nearly four years ago with the opportunity to help turn a young rockstar startup into a global player, I embarked on what has been the greatest and most challenging adventure of my life,” he wrote.
The Xiaomi Global vice-president said that the challenge had taken a toll on his life though.
“But what I’ve realised 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.”
Xiaomi can count South Africa, Russia, India and several other regions as new markets under Hugo Barra
Barra added that the company was in a “good place” now, making it an ideal time to come home. He highlighted some of the more notable Xiaomi achievements outside China.
“We turned India from a dream into Xiaomi’s largest international market with US$1-billion in annual revenues, faster than any company in India’s history. We expanded into Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and more recently 20 other markets including Russia, Mexico, and Poland. We teamed up with Google to launch our first official product in the US, and with our successful debut at CES 2017 — where we won three prestigious awards — the world now sees that Xiaomi is a global player changing the tech industry through our simple promise of bringing innovation to everyone.”
CEO Lei Jun has asked Barra to remain a Xiaomi advisor on an indefinite basis, the former Googler added in the letter.
Where to next for Xiaomi?
“For me, as for many people in China, the Spring Festival brings new beginnings, and I will be transitioning out of my role at Xiaomi in February after Chinese New Year. I will take some much-needed time off before embarking on a new adventure back in Silicon Valley.”
In response to the letter, Xiaomi co-founder Bin Lin thanked Barra and revealed succession plans.
“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,” Lin wrote on Facebook.
“Xiang Wang, Xiaomi Senior Vice President, will lead our entire global efforts moving forward. We have ambitious expansion plans for 2017 and are confident in Xiang’s leadership to take our global business to even greater heights!”
Featured image: Hugo Barra Facebook page