China’s Xiaomi (小米) has poached a key Google executive involved in the tech giant’s Android phones, in a move seen as a coup for the rapidly growing Chinese smartphone maker.
Hugo Barra, who was Google’s vice president in charge of Android product management, said in a blog post late on Wednesday that he is joining Xiaomi to help the firm expand its business outside China, where it already has some market share, but is well behind Samsung and Apple.
“After nearly 5 1/2 years at Google and almost 3 years as a member of the Android team — the most amazing group of people I’ve ever worked with in my life — I have decided to start a new career chapter,” Barra wrote.
“In a few weeks, I’ll be joining the Xiaomi team in China to help them expand their incredible product portfolio and business globally — as Vice President, Xiaomi Global,” he wrote.
“I’m really looking forward to this new challenge, and am particularly excited about the opportunity to continue to help drive the Android ecosystem,” he said.
Android is the Google-developed smartphone operating system that is battling with systems from Apple and Microsoft for dominance in the smartphone market.
It is already offered on Samsung and other phones.
International Data Corp (IDC) reported early this month that smartphones powered by Android software increased their global market share as iPhones lost ground in the absence of new models being unleashed by Apple.
Android’s share of the smartphone market grew to 79.3 percent in the second quarter, while that of iPhone slipped to 13.2 percent from 16.6 percent in the same three-month period last year, IDC figures show.