Xiaomi's Barra joins Facebook to head virtual reality

27 Jan, 2017

Hugo Barra, who recently quit smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc. as its global vice president, has joined social networking giant Facebook Inc. as its head of virtual reality.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post that virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform. "Hugo is going to help build that future," Zuckerberg said.

In a reply to Zuckerberg's post, Barra said he would start in his new role in a couple of months. "I learned from Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun that there's no greater calling in our industry than taking breakthrough tech and making it available to the greatest number of people," he said.

Barra had joined Xiaomi three-and-a-half years ago and spearheaded the company's global expansion plans, including in emerging markets like India. "We turned India from a dream into Xiaomi's largest international market with $1 billion in annual revenues, faster than any company in India's history," Barra had said in the post where he announced his exit.

An alumnus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Barra had previously worked at Google in various roles. Prior to that, he worked at Massachusetts-based Nuance Communications.

Facebook has hired a number of senior executives in recent months. In September 2016, Facebook recruited former Snapdeal chief product officer Anand Chandrasekaran to help develop strategies for its Messenger app.

In India, Facebook appointed former Google executive Pulkit Trivedi as industry director for its e-commerce, retail, travel and financial services verticals. Prior to that, the firm appointed Bedi as its managing director in India, three months after Kirthiga Reddy stepped down from the post.

Facebook posted a 43% rise in revenue from India to Rs 177 crore for the financial year ended 31 March 2016, on the back of high advertising revenue.