Homesick Hugo Barra Leaving Xiaomi After 3 Years To Rejoin Silicon Valley

hugo barra
Many people in the tech industry were shocked when former Android executive Hugo Barra decided to abandon Google 3.5 years ago to take a position at Chinese firm Xiaomi. At the time, Barra said that he was ready to start a “new career chapter”, coming aboard Xiaomi as the company’s International Vice President.

Now, however, Barra says that he is ready to return home. Although he is very proud of his tenure at Xiaomi, being 6,500 miles from home has taken its toll on him personally.

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.

Bara says that he is leaving Xiaomi, confident in the fact that the company “is in a very good place in its global expansion path”. However, not everything is rosy over at Xiaomi at the moment.

In late November, Barra himself explained that Xiaomi isn’t even profiting from its smartphone sales. "Basically we're giving [handsets] to you without making any money… we care about the recurring revenue streams over many years," said Barra. "We could sell 10 billion smartphones and we wouldn't make a single dime in profits.”

hugo barra

In addition, Xiaomi’s global sales have been on a downward trend, whiles its Q3 2016 sales tumbled 45 percent in China alone. And when IDC reported on global smartphone shipments for Q3, Xiaomi was nowhere to be found on the leaderboard and was simply lumped into the “other” category.

So, what’s next for Barra as he leaves his Beijing home? He plans to transition out of his role in February and embark on a “new adventure” in Silicon Valley. Although he doesn’t get into specifics about where he’ll land, it would be great to see Barra teamp up with former Googler Andy Rubin at Essential.

Barra will be succeeded by Xiang Wang, who currently serves as Senior Vice President for Xiaomi.