Xiaomi executive Hugo Barra is on his way to Facebook, after the social network’s CEO and founder announced that he would be joining the team to head up all of the company’s virtual reality efforts. Barra announced this week that he would be stepping down from his role at Xiaomi next month in order to return to the United States.

Xiaomi, known by many as the “Apple of China,” is losing a man who helped create Android before heading to China to work with a company that is building into a force to be reckoned with in the international smartphone market.

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Barra also helped Xiaomi enter the virtual reality market during his time with the company, something Facebook will be hoping carries over to his work with the social network. After all, one of the areas under his stewardship is set to be the Oculus team.

Zuckerberg announced the appointment himself, and he is clearly pleased to have captured one of the industry’s most respected personalities. It becomes more clear what Barra’s role at the company would be given Zuckerberg’s explicit mention of their interest in the virtual reality-scape and how that market is the next big thing.

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.

Hugo shares my belief that virtual and augmented reality will be the next major computing platform. Hugo is going to help build that future, and I’m looking forward to having him on our team.”

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In a response to Zucerkberg’s announcement, Barra also released his own statement in which he looked forward to “building the future of immersive technology.”

Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun always says that the highest calling of an engineer is to make technology breakthroughs quickly and readily available to the widest possible spectrum of humanity. That will be my mission at Facebook and I look forward to building the future of immersive technology with Mark Zuckerberg, Brendan Trexler Iribe, Mike Schroepfer, and the visionaries in the Oculus team.

All eyes will now be on Facebook and Oculus to see where this new appointment takes both companies.

(Source: Facebook)

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