Leading Chinese smartphone maker, Xiaomi, is bidding farewell to its Head of International Business, Hugo Barra, who was also its primary English-language spokesperson after he announced his exit from the company for his next big step towards Silicon Valley.
About Hugo Barra
Hugo, who was a former Android executive in Google, joined Xiaomi about 4 years ago. His exit is raising questions about the cause behind it. This year, for the first time, Xiaomi declined to provide annual sales figures and admitted it grew too quick, raising suspicions about whether it can continue the inspiring growth that gave it a $45 billion valuation two years ago.
Huga Barra’s Announcement
Hugo Barra said in a Facebook post announcing his departure that his primary reason for leaving is homesickness and that he plans to move back to California.
“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.”
He added that the company’s global footprint, which was his primary responsibility, is “in a very good place.”
At the time of his arrival, Xiaomi’s business was pretty much limited to Greater China. Under his leadership, it has stretched across Asia and beyond to reach more than 20 countries, although the U.S. is still not on that list.
But there have been challenges. Xiaomi has seen its recognition as China’s top smartphone maker slip under competition from Huawei and phone makers Oppo and Vivo, so expanding globally became a more important priority in that light. Though, the company’s expansion has been slow with claims of launching in Pakistan and the US dating back to late 2015.
Xiang Wang, the company’s senior vice president said:
“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. I’m also looking forward to working closely with him in his new role as adviser to Xiaomi.”
Hugo said he will be out by February-2017, after Chinese New Year.
What This Means for Xiaomi in Pakistan
Perhaps this has been the reason that Xiaomi has suddenly delayed its launch in Pakistan. The company was expected to launch 4 of its smartphones in Pakistan within the first half of January but the launch got delayed due to unforeseen circumstances. The issue can now be explained as the company’s International Business head, who was responsible for these expansion plans, has been planning to quit. However, since he suggested that expansion plans will continue, a Xiaomi launch can still be expected soon.