Hugo Barra’s challenge: Grow a Chinese phone maker beyond China


Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra at LeWeb 2013

Xiaomi up Hugo Barra at LeWeb 2013

PARIS — promoting 18 million phones this yr could sound like a hit, and for Chinese language cell phone maker Xiaomi, it’s better than the 7 million Android smartphone it bought remaining yr. however it’s no longer enough.

In China, customers doubled smartphone possession within the remaining 12 months to about 500 million whole — including 340 million Android telephones and one hundred forty million iPhones. To seek out growth in an awfully crowded market, the corporate a couple of months again employed Hugo Barra, Google’s former director of Android product building.

“I’m joining the workforce to assist us go outdoor China,” he mentioned at the LeWeb conference here, Bara’s first public appearance in view that his departure from Google. “I am looking for markets and get to them as fast as imaginable.

He is now working a part of a business, no longer just working in product management. First on his listing for enlargement is Southeast Asia, which is shut and logistically more uncomplicated for a Chinese company, he said.

Xiaomi has about four, 000 workers, and Barra described it as a sort of go between Apple and Google. For software — the corporate customizes Android and runs its own app store — Xiaomi has “small scrappy groups. You move as quickly as you could.” For hardware, the company designs its own phones but, like Apple, relies on out of doors manufacturing partners when it’s time to construct them.

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“Apple’s provide chain administration is the perfect there’s. We’re doing very similar things,” Barra stated.

He described China’s cellular market as fast-transferring and dominated by way of Chinese-native apps like Web, QQ, Aliped, and WeChat.

“Every individual I know is on WeChat. We do not use telephone, fast messaging, or textual content messaging,” he mentioned. “It is fresh when your whole social life is on one platform.”

Xiaomi's Android phones

Xiaomi Android phones