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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?