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Former Google Exec Hugo Barra Reflects on Xiaomi and China

by Jacob Kleinman | October 16, 2013October 16, 2013 6:00 pm PDT

Former Google executive Hugo Barra made headlines earlier this year when he left the search giant for Chinese smartphone startup Xiaomi. Now, a week into his new job as vice president in charge of global expansion for the Beijing-based company, Barra took to Google+ and Twitter to update his friends and followers on what he’s been up to.

Describing the environment at Xiaomi, Barra says the company is just as exciting and energetic as Google, with small scrappy teams working as quickly as possible—often through the night—to create the best products and user experience possible. He notes that the company is focused on “doing the right thing,” which reminds us a bit of Google’s credo, “Don’t be evil,” and ads that Xiaomi’s customers are referred to internally as “Mi fans.”

Touching on the Chinese tech world in general, Barra says it’s faster and more competitive than anything he’s ever seen in the U.S. He also notes that social media is bigger China than in the west, with more than 500 million registered users on Twitter competitor Sina Weibo alone. Barra’s own Weibo account already has 80,000 followers—compared to just 5,000 on Twitter.

We’re looking forward to hearing and seeing more from Barra as his work for Xiaomi continues. With the Google exec on-board, the Chinese company is likely to expand rapidly and aggressively, spreading its budget-friendly smartphones around the world. It may not be too long before we see Hugo back in the U.S. promoting his new employer’s latest Mi device.

Hugo Barra Xiaomi

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...

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