Hugo Barra, face of Xiaomi, leaves company and returns to Silicon Valley

Says Xiaomi's growth in India outpaces any company in the country's history

Hugo Barra

When Hugo Barra joined Xiaomi in August 2013, no one would have imagined the way the company would skyrocket. The company sold 7.5 million smartphones in 2012, moving to more than 61 million devices just two years later. Today, Barra announced on his Facebook page that he will be leaving the company and return to Silicon Valley. 

Hugo Barra’s journey

Barra called his time at Xiaomi “the greatest and most challenging adventure of my life”, thanking everyone along the way. He started by thanking CEO Lei Jun for being “a mentor and a friend”. Jun was thanked for being supportive of Barra’s transition, and has asked him to remain an advisor to Xiaomi indefinitely.

Xiaomi in India

While talking of Xiaomi’s success over the past few years, Barra mentioned India as a key factor in the brand’s success. “We turned India from a dream into Xiaomi’s largest international market with $1 billion [Dh3.67 billion] in annual revenues, faster than any company in India’s history,” said Barra in his post. He also mentioned that the company expanded into Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Russia, Mexico and Poland. 

What’s next?

While Barra is said to be “embarking on a new adventure back in Silicon Valley”, Xiaomi’s next step is still unclear since CEO Lei Jun recently admitted the company’s growth has been too rapid and what most people would consider unsustainable. “In the first few years, we pushed ahead too fast,” Jun said last week. “We created a miracle, but also drew on some long-term growth.” Even though the company has branched out into many markets and has seen success, it still doesn’t have a presence in markets such as the US.