Hugo Barra, the ex-Google executive who led international expansion at Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi, is quitting.
After three-and-a-half years at the company sometimes referred to as the “Apple of China,” Barra announced his departure in a Facebook post on Monday, citing the “huge toll” it has taken on his life.
“This journey has been nothing short of spectacular in every way,” he wrote. “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.”
The executive will be leaving in February, after the Chinese New Year, and says he plans to take some time off before starting an unspecified “new adventure” back in Silicon Valley in California.
Xiaomi grew rapidly thanks to its low-cost, desirable smartphones, that sometimes bore a suspicious resemblance to Apple’s designs (though Barra rejected any accusations of copying or “theft”). But the firm, founded in 2010, is like Apple in other ways too — from its charismatic founder Lei Jun to its famously devoted fanbase.
Once the world’s most valuable technology startup with a $45 billion valuation, its growth has slowed more recently, as it lost market share and failed to hit sales targets. CEO Lei Jun said at the start of 2017 that the company has grown “too fast,” causing problems.
The company’s smartphones are not yet available in most Western markets, where Barra — who formerly worked at Google on Android — is its most recognisable spokesperson.
Here’s the full Facebook post from Huge Barra about his departure:
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