Hugo Barra was Google’s Vice President of Product Management for Android but he recently left Mountain View to join the fast growing Chinese handset maker Xiaomi. After his first week on the job it looks like Barra is enjoying the new challenges.
The new Vice President of Xiaomi Global has joined the company to help it expand its product portfolio and business across the world. In other words Barra is there to take Xiaomi’s products global and promote the brand outside of China.
In a recent posting to Google+ Barra wrote that the first week at Xiaomi in Beijing has been pretty intense. He was amazed at the speed of development and the breakneck speed of the Chinese tech ecosystem. “I’ve never seen such fierce competition and such impassioned desire to build things fast,” wrote Barra. “There’s a pervasive entrepreneurial spirit in companies both small and big.”
Hugo’s comments also shed some light on the nature of the Chinese tech industry. Historically Chinese goods have been seen as cheap and of low quality. However the high tech manufacturing revolution of the last ten years has seen companies like Samsung and Apple move large chunks of their high-volume, high quality manufacturing to mainland China. According to Barra the attitude at Xiaomi is about “doing the right thing.” This means that everyone at Xiaomi is focused on the end user.
We have a special term for our users — we call them 'Mi fans', and 'Mi fans' always come first.
Also interesting is Barra’s insights into social media which he says is much bigger than in the west. Hugo joined the popular micro-blogging platform Sina Weibo less than a month ago and has made just 12 public posts, however he already has over 80,000 followers. His following on G+ is just 36,000!