Hugo Barra is leaving Xiaomi to return to Silicon Valley

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Chinese handset maker Xiaomi’s most prominent face has quit the firm. Hugo Barra, the global head of Xiaomi’s international business, will be returning to his life in Silicon Valley.

Xiaomi earlier did hint at a possible restructuring of the company. Barra, who spearheaded the company’s international expansion efforts, will be replaced by Wang Xiang, a former Qualcomm China president who joined Xiaomi in 2015.

“We have ambitious expansion plans for 2017 and are confident in Xiang’s leadership to take our global business to even greater heights!” Lin Bin, Xiaomi’s co-founder and president, wrote in a Facebook post.

Bin also had nice things to say on Barra. “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.”

According to sources, Barra will be leaving Xiaomi in February. He did mention on his Facebook on “embarking on a new adventure back in Silicon Valley.”

“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,” Barra said in the post.

The Brazilian executive, who was based in Beijing, earlier worked with Google under various roles, including Director of Product Management for Mobile and Android, before joining Xiaomi.

Under his leadership, the company expanded to important markets such as India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Singapore. In his Facebook post, Barra proudly spoke of Xiaomi’s first launch in the US and successful debut at CES 2017 where the company won 3 awards.

“The world now sees that Xiaomi is a global player changing the tech industry through our simple promise of bringing innovation to everyone,” he wrote.

Barra’s departure comes in the backdrop of Xiaomi losing out to rivals like Huawei, Oppo and Vivo in China.

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