Xiaomi’s Hugo Barra will join social network Facebook to help the company further develop its Virtual Reality (VR) capabilities, Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg confirmed on Thursday.
In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg said that he was “excited that Hugo Barra is joining Facebook to lead all of our virtual reality efforts, including our Oculus team. Hugo’s in China right now, so here we are together in VR. It seems fitting.”
“I’ve known Hugo for a long time, starting when he helped develop the Android operating system, to the last few years he’s worked at Xiaomi in Beijing bringing innovative devices to millions of people,” Zuckerberg wrote.
“Hugo shares my belief that virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform. They’ll enable us to experience completely new things and be more creative than ever before. Hugo is going to help build that future, and I’m looking forward to having him on our team,” the post concluded.
Barra, who was Xiaomi’s global vice president, on Monday in a Facebook post had said that he was resigning from the company to go back to Silicon Valley. He had cited health issues and also his desire to move closer to his family.
He pointed out something that any executive based in the “first world” needs to consider when looking at working in India or China - “the last few years of living in such a singular environment have taken a huge toll on my life and started affecting my health,” Barra wrote.
In the post, he notes that Xiaomi is in a good place on its global expansion path, and that is why this is a good time to go back home. He noted that India went from “a dream” into Xiaomi’s “largest international market, with over $1 billion in revenues,” and pointed out Xiaomi’s expansion in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and more recently 20 other markets including Russia, Mexico, and Poland.
His exit comes at a time when Xiaomi is trying to adjust its strategy. The company pulled back from several overseas markets, including Singapore and Brazil, in 2016. It is increasing its offline retail presence and aims to develop artificial intelligence and internet finance as growth areas.
Barra before joining Xiaomi in September 2013 was the vice president for product management (Android) at Google.