Google VP Joins Chinese Smartphone Maker Xiaomi

Source: WSJ

Chinese smartphone company Xiaomi said Thursday that former Google Inc. vice president Hugo Barra will join the company to help it grow its international business and work on its strategic cooperation with Google.

Xiaomi is little known outside of China, but the company has seen success within the country due to its smartphones, which it first sold only online in limited quantities. Founded by well-known Chinese entrepreneur Lei Jun, Xiaomi has used a customized operating system that works as an add-on to Android to separate itself from other cheap smartphone companies.

google xiaomi China

The hiring of Mr. Barra, who was vice president of product management for Android at Google, shows the growing weight Chinese companies carry as they build out share in the domestic market, which is now the world’s largest market by smartphone sales.

Last week, the company announced that its most recent round of fundraising valued it at $10 billion. In the second quarter the company had a 2.5% share of China’s smartphone market according to Analysis International, which tracks sales in the country. By comparison, Apple Inc. had a 4.6% market share, while Lenovo Group Ltd. had a 12.4% share and Samsung Electronics Co. a 18.6% share, according to the company.

Also according to press, Apple will introduce two iPhone models this fall in Chinese smartphone market, the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. The iPhone 5C will be priced much lower than the iPhone 5S, as it mainly targets at middle class smartphone market. Apple’s products have been selling very well in China in recent years. China has a huge smartphone market, Apple has smaller market share in the high end smartphone market, the next big opportunity for Apple might be the middle end smartphone market in China.

 Update Apr 2019: removed amzn.