Xiaomi made headlines last year when it poached Hugo Barra from his position as Google’s Android product manager to join the upstart phone-maker. Now the Chinese company has scooped up a second Google executive as it prepares a significant push into India.
Jai Mani served as a Google Play product manager before leaving the company last November to launch his own startup. Now he’s heading to India where he’ll help launch Xiaomi’s first research and development center in the rapidly growing South Asian market. Barra also confirmed the news in a public Facebook post, adding that Mani will be based in Bangalore as a product manager for the Mi India team.
Last week, Xiaomi butted heads with Apple over copycat claims leveled at the Chinese firm, and it’s clearly not afraid to go after Google as well. The company uses a modified version of Android and offers its own stand-alone app store, which puts it in direct competition with both the iPhone and Google’s mobile operating system.
Xiaomi already has a huge fan base in China, but it’s unclear if the company can perform as well in India where Android One is already staking out its own turf with a lineup of budget-friendly stock Android phones. It will be interesting to see whether Jai Mani can help turn things around, especially given his experience managing Google’s own app market.