Former Google exec to help Xiaomi to expand outside China
Xiaomi has risen to become a top smartphone maker in China in only two years
IDG News Service - Up-and-coming Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has hired Hugo Barra, former Google vice president for Android product management, to lead its expansion worldwide.
The hiring of Barra is a high-profile move for Xiaomi, a company that only began selling smartphones two years ago, but has since become one of the biggest names in China's tech industry.
Barra announced his departure from the U.S. search giant in a posting on his Google+ page.
"In a few weeks, I'll be joining the XiaomiA team in China to help them expand their incredible product portfolio and business globally -- as Vice President, Xiaomi Global," he wrote.
Xiaomi's CEO Lei Jun and President Lin Bin both confirmed that Barra would be joining the company in posts on Chinese Twitter-like site Sina Weibo on Thursday.
Xiaomi, which means "Little Rice" in English, has gained its popularity partly by selling high-end Android phones, but at low prices. For example, the company last month announced a phone built with a quad-core processor, 4.7-inch screen, and an 8-megapixel camera, for the low price of US$129 when bought without carrier subsidies.
At the same time, the company also uses a crowdsourcing model to encourage its customers to offer input on improving the user interface to its Android phones. This has helped the company generate word-of-mouth marketing and create loyalty among its customers, according to Xiaomi's CEO.
In this year's second quarter, shipments of Xiaomi phones surpassed Apple in China, making the company the sixth largest handset vendor in the nation, according to research firm Canalys.
Xiaomi's top management is already made up of Chinese employees who formerly worked at Google, Microsoft and Motorola, but the company's expertise has been geared toward the domestic market so far, said Teck Zhung Wong, an analyst with research firm IDC.
"Xiaomi knows the Chinese market, but when it comes to tackling the global market, I think this is where this person [Barra] will become useful," he said.
"It goes to show that Xiaomi's ambition is definitely not restricted to the Greater China market," Wong added. "It's definitely looking at ways to get into the overseas market, very likely mature markets, such as the U.S. and Europe."
The company's phones have started to sell outside of mainland China, in Hong Kong and Taiwan. But next year, Xiaomi could start expanding into five other foreign markets, its CEO said back in May.
Next week, Xiaomi is holding a major event in Beijing, where the company is expected to unveil its next flagship phone. Xiaomi has also been rumored to be developing a tablet.
- Silicon Valley's 19 Coolest Places to Work
- Is Windows 8 Development Worth the Trouble?
- 8 Books Every IT Leader Should Read This Year
- 10 Hot Hadoop Startups to Watch
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Infographic: Converged Infrastructure Benefits This Infographic quantifies the savings organizations are realizing from increased deployment speed, higher availability, and lower annual costs.
- CIOs Deliver Productivity Breakthroughs with Intelligent Digital Signage Retailers have long recognized the influence that digital signage provides over a shopper's point-of-purchase decision making process.
- Going Paperless? Here's What You Need to Think About As makers of some of the world's most popular PDF solutions, we often consult with businesses & governmental agencies that have the goal...
- The Big Data Opportunity for HR and Finance If CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and CHROs want to drive their businesses forward, they will need to quickly recognize the enormous value of big...
- Top 4 Digital Signage Fails Join RMG Networks for a look at four of the most common reasons digital signage fails in corporate businesses. Learn about strategies to...
- Building Tomorrow's Infrastructure Listen to this podcast to discover how Crider Foods worked with PC Connection to update their IT infrastructure, while maintaining compliance and control. All Smartphones White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!