Hugo Barra steps down as Xiaomi VP, returns to Silicon Valley


It was only a recent Facebook post earlier today that took everyone by surprise, but it turned out to be true. Xiaomi’s Vice President of Global Operations, Hugo Barra announced that he will be stepping down from his role, since he now has plans to return to Silicon Valley to be closer to his family and friends.

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.

Hugo has been Xiaomi’s VP for almost 3,5 years, and during that time he led the company’s expansion into the Indian market followed by Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and more recently 20 other markets including Russia, Mexico, and Poland. Recently, Xiaomi announced that it crossed $ 1 Billion in revenues from its Indian operations in 2016, an achievement that added another feather to Hugo’s already full cap.

Barra’s decision seems to be surprising enough, since just a couple of days ago he has really happy during Redmi Note 4’s official launch in India.

Following Barra’s FB post earlier today, Xiaomi’s co-founder (Lei Jun) announced that Xiang Wang, a Senior Vice President at Xiaomi, will take over from Hugo Barra.

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16 Comments

  1. Raul
    January 23, 2017

    Will be interesting to see how the smartphones will be influenced by his departure

    • Fred
      January 23, 2017

      He was hired for developing the Brazilian market. He failed.He stayed 2 more years as a deluxe PR as it would be too shameful for Xiaomi and him to stay only 18 months.

  2. dref
    January 23, 2017

    in other words he was laid off… and I must say i’m not surprised.

    • Bailey
      January 23, 2017

      Do you know something we don’t

      • dref
        January 23, 2017

        Apparently yes, in my world VP’s move directly from one role to another (without any gap), if not it means they got fired.
        And as correctly mentioned here by Guaire and Fred he failed in his mission AND miserably failed to get Xiaomi into the high end phone market… overselling products (MI5) and launching badly engineered devices (MI mix ceramic frame…) Very good decision by Xiaomi.

        • Bailey
          March 3, 2017

          so gossip no facts then

  3. Dominó85
    January 23, 2017

    He just left the sinking ship before time. Wise choice from him. Xiaomi will be soon that expensive than Huawei. And that time many fans will turn away from Xiaomi forever.

    • SnowyCat
      January 23, 2017

      yeah just look how xiaomi goes down…not

      • dref
        January 24, 2017

        Looking at facts will give you a very different picture… Xiaomi is not even in the top 5 and is behind oppo & vivo… http://www.idc.com/promo/smartphone-market-share/vendor;jsessionid=38011719B8226D29FC2DA783F872C7D3

      • Dominó85
        February 21, 2017

        Xiaomi makes 15-20 phones and variants of those in a year. For what, why, who? Nonsense shit strategy they have. They have to make 1-1 Redmi, Redmi Note, Mi and Mi Note in a year, not more!!! They are now like Samsung five years ago. Pro, Prime, Pro Prime, S, S Pro, S Prime… Disgusting…

        • SnowyCat
          February 28, 2017

          they have to to stay relevent..when qualcomm/mediatek launch a new really good soc they have to follow with a phone..its like oneplus did this year

  4. Guaire
    January 23, 2017

    He did a very poor job at global expansion IMO.

    They failed to enter half of the markets they have announced at their 2014 global expansion map.

    They doesn’t offer many great phones at those markets, even at their so called second home India. At other official markets Xiaomi’s portfolio is much worse. When those products released it lagged. Foreign customers can’t enjoy same discounts like Chinese ones.

    Seems like Xiaomi totally failed at Barra’s home country Brazil. Only phone listed at Xiaomi Brazil official page is Redmi 2.

    Mi4i was a big disappointment for official Xiaomi markets.

    Poor decisions slowed down Xiaomi’s growth at those markets.

    Xiaomi have lost a poster boy for Western markets.

  5. David Košič
    January 23, 2017

    To be honest xiaomi isn’t that special anymore. For everyone outside of China they are just another Chinese smartphone maker with limited support and best known for cheap devices. If people want cheaper flagship devices they just go with Huawei or with oneplus.

    • dref
      January 23, 2017

      If there was anything special in the first place…It was new ok, but special?

      Xiaomi was just at the right time at the right place, now its a different story, the golden era is over (Chinese market maturity), the game is now the replacement market and you cannot win in this market with the same recipe… people want fancy stuff / no longer have what everybody has…marketing is MUCH needed in such market to generate demand because frankly you don’t need to change your phone if it works…

      Why do you think Huawei/apple/samsung spend so much on marketing? because that’s the only way to sell to this kind of customers to replace their existing phone every 1-2 years… Now you may not be subject to this kind of marketing technique but the majority does and will.

    • SnowyCat
      January 23, 2017

      but what if they want the mi5 for the better camera compared to oneplus..or the updates?

      i mean we can jsut compare the oneplus sales and it will be kinda easy to tell that not everyone wants a oneplus or huawei/honor

      +the updates to their software is something oneplus owners can only dream about..same for most brands

  6. MIUI Android
    January 24, 2017

    That senior VP was already in charge months ago, Barra has done nothing of effect, that is the real reason he is leaving. Uneventful 3.5 years he did nothing to help expand the market. Asia was always the comfort zone of Xiaomi they always played it safe.

    I have to say after meeting Hugo many times and being promised and never given anything it is a GOOD thing Xiaomi are cutting him loose. CES was a dry reception given it was their FIRST attempt at it and it failed.

    Good riddance to a big cry baby 🙂