Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi have suffered a bit of a blow after it was announced that one of their bigwigs and their primary English spokesperson, Hugo Barra.

The Brazilian-born computer scientist joined Xiaomi 3.5 years ago from Google in what was at the time a major coup and now his departure has raised more than a few eyebrows.

This year, for the first time, Xiaomi declined to provide annual sales figures and admitted it grew too quick, raising doubts about whether it can continue the impressive growth that gave it a $45 billion valuation two years ago.

Barra in announcing his departure on Facebook stated that homesickness was a major factor in his decision. He also said he plans to head back to California.


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He said, What I’ve realized is that the last few years of living in such a singular environment have taken a huge toll on my life and started affecting my health. My friends, what I consider to be my home, and my life are back in Silicon Valley, which is also much closer to my family. Seeing how much I’ve left behind these past few years, it is clear to me that the time has come to return.
He added that the company’s global footprint, which was his primary responsibility, is “in a very good place.”

Barra changed a lot for Xiaomi, when he first arrived, Xiaomi was limited to Greater China. What he achieved was to help them expand across Asia and beyond to reach more than 20 countries making them one of the biggest players in the Asian market.

All the success hasn't come without a few slip ups as Xiaomi lost its crown as China’s top smartphone maker losing to Huawei.



Xiaomi co-founder Bin Lin, also a former Google executive, said senior vice president Xiang Wang would lead Xiaomi’s international business going forward. Wang, a former head of Qualcomm China, joined Xiaomi in 2015 and previously led its supply chain and intellectual property teams.

Lin lauded the departing Barra saying, "When Hugo joined us 3.5 years ago, we started an amazing adventure to turn Xiaomi into a global player. We have come a long way since, and I couldn’t thank him enough for contributing so much to Xiaomi’s journey. As much as we would love to have Hugo stay with us in Beijing for a much longer time, we understand his personal challenges and wish him all the best in his future endeavors."

Barra has said he has plans to get some rest before embarking on an exciting adventure back to Silicon valley.