Facebook appoints former Xiaomi exec Hugo Barra to head VR business

Barra quit Xiaomi amicably saying that the job was telling on his health


										IDG Worldwide

IDG Worldwide

Facebook has appointed former Xiaomi executive Hugo Barra to lead its virtual reality initiatives, including the Oculus VR business that was acquired in 2014.

The appointment was announced by the company's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who said that Barra will lead all of Facebook's virtual reality efforts including the Oculus team.

Facebook's decision to hire Barra as vice president of virtual reality may have been influenced in part by his exposure to the Chinese market, which is forecast by IDC to account for 20 percent of worldwide virtual reality head-mounted displays next year.

"I've known Hugo for a long time, starting when he helped develop the Android operating system, to the last few years he's worked at Xiaomi in Beijing bringing innovative devices to millions of people," Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page late Wednesday.

Barra said earlier this week that he was moving to Silicon Valley over three years after he quit Google to join Chinese smartphone startup Xiaomi to lead its global expansion.

During his tenure, Xiaomi expanded into Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and more recently into 20 other markets including Russia, Mexico, and Poland. But most of the success came from India and Myanmar. "We turned India from a dream into Xiaomi’s largest international market with $1 billion in annual revenues," Barra said in a post on Facebook. But the job kept him away from friends and family and had taken "a huge toll on my life and started affecting my health."

"Hugo shares my belief that virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform," wrote Zuckerberg. Barra is going "to help build that future, and I'm looking forward to having him on our team," he added.

Xiaomi has already made a foray into the virtual reality market. It announced last year a VR headset last year, which was certified to work with all Google Cardboard apps and could fit some models of its phones.

Barra said in reply to Zuckerberg's welcome that he aimed to make VR a mainstream technology. He said he had 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."

Facebook said in November that it was focusing its long-term innovation roadmap around virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence and connectivity initiatives to bring more people online. It said it was investing in virtual reality content as it expects that the next phase of VR would be in software experiences.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?