VP of VR: Facebook’s new virtual reality head is ex-Xiaomi and Google man Hugo Barra

Why it issues to you

Barra’s departure from Xiaomi might have an effect on its international enlargement plans, however his experience might assist Fb’s thrilling VR plans

Hugo Barra, the person answerable for Chinese language smartphone model Xiaomi’s international improvement, has left the corporate and can be a part of Fb to turn out to be the lead government driving the social community’s digital actuality efforts. The 2 bulletins got here inside days of one another. Barra joined Xiaomi in 2013, leaving his position as vice chairman of Android Product Administration at Google, and has since helped Xiaomi launch in a number of new places, pushing the model itself additional into the consciousness of worldwide smartphone and know-how consumers.

Fb, which owns VR firm Oculus, has main plans for digital actuality. In a post welcoming Hugo Barra to the workforce, Fb CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls digital and augmented actuality, “the subsequent main computing platform,” a imaginative and prescient he says is shared by Barra. His new position on the firm will probably be VP of digital actuality, which encompasses heading up the Oculus group, and to commemorate the event, the 2 took a VR selfie collectively. No begin date has been revealed, though Barra says he expects to start work at Fb, “in a few months.”

Extra: Our review of the Xiaomi Redmi Pro

Leaving Xiaomi

The information comes just some days after Barra wrote about his departure from Xiaomi in a prolonged Facebook post, the place he stated dwelling in Beijing away from his household, “has taken an enormous toll on my life and began affecting my well being.” He continued to say, “My buddies, what I contemplate to be my residence, and my life are again in Silicon Valley, which can also be a lot nearer to my household. Seeing how a lot I’ve left behind these previous few years, it’s clear to me that the time has come to return.”

On the time, the one point out relating to his future was that he would take a while off after leaving Xiaomi in February, earlier than, “embarking in a brand new journey again in Silicon Valley.”

Whereas we now know Fb is his new residence, Barra made it clear in his unique posting that he’s not chopping ties with Xiaomi. Not solely will he stay a fan, however CEO Lei Jun has requested him to proceed as an advisor for the corporate. In a reply to Barra’s Fb submit, Xiaomi co-founder Bin Lin additionally mentions this position, saying he appears ahead to working intently with him sooner or later. He additionally says, “As a lot as we might like to have Hugo seat with us in Beijing for a for much longer time, we perceive his private challenges and need him all one of the best in his future endeavors.”

Who will take his place at Xiaomi?

Xiaomi has announced Xiang Wang will now lead the corporate’s international enlargement efforts. He joined the corporate in 2015 from Qualcomm China, and occupies a senior vice chairman position at Xiaomi. Nevertheless, whereas Barra is understood for his enthusiastic use of social media to attach with worldwide followers, Xiang Wang doesn’t seem to have a Fb or Twitter account of his personal, and doesn’t commonly use China’s fashionable Weibo platform.

In his Fb publish, Barra singles out India as one in every of his largest achievements at Xiaomi, the place together with his help, it has develop into the agency’s largest market outdoors China. Nevertheless, regardless of success, Xiaomi says it pushed too hard in its early years, and that to construct sustainable progress for the longer term, it must sluggish issues down. This doesn’t imply it’ll finish its international efforts — Bin Lin says it has “formidable enlargement plans” for 2017 — however together with Barra’s departure and Xiang Wang’s appointment, we may even see strategic changes to slot in with these modifications.

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