Xiaomi exec Hugo Barra leaves Chinese handheld maker


— 11:30 AM on January 23, 2017

Hugo Barra left Google back in 2013 to join Chinese cellphone maker Xiaomi. After leading many of the company's biggest initiatives over the last few years, Barra is now departing, with his sights set on a return to Silicon Valley. Barra announced his resignation today on Facebook, citing the toll the job has taken on his life and health in addition to keeping him far away from his family. Xiaomi says Barra's departure is entirely for personal reasons, and told the Wall Street Journal that Barra would continue to advise the company.

Barra helped push Xiaomi out of China and into other countries, including a successful push in India. However, Xiaomi has had difficulty breaking into other markets despite releasing some intriguing products like the stunning Mi Mix edgeless phone.

While Xiaomi's focus has been turned outward, however, its market share in its home country has dropped, according to analyst and research firm IDC. The company saw its cellphone shipments drop from 17.1 million in early 2015 to just 10.5 million at the same time in 2016—a decline of nearly 40%. "It's important for [Xiaomi] to put their resources back into China to bring momentum back for their smartphone business," said Canalys China Research Director Nicole Peng, speaking to the WSJ.

Barra hasn't yet announced whether he has a new gig lined up back home, or where he might be looking.

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