/// Xiaomi’s Bin Lin on Hiring Hugo Barra, International Expansion and Selling 100,000 Phones in 90 Seconds
It’s still the case that many people haven’t heard of Xiaomi, but that’s changing fast. The Chinese phone maker has been on a tear, selling seven million phones last year and on pace to sell 15 million devices or more this year . The company recently made some headlines when it reached a reported $10 billion valuation . And, of course, it is back in the news this week after AllThingsD broke the story that the company had nabbed Hugo Barra , a Google VP and top Android executive. The company has historically focused on the China market , though it has branched out to Hong Kong and Taiwan and is considering further expansion. Barra will be a key part of that, Xiaomi co-founder Bin Lin said in a phone interview on Thursday. “He has a keen understanding of the product itself, what features work globally,” Lin said. Lin, who previously worked at Google, said he has known Barra since 2008 — shortly after he joined Google. The two have been collaborating more closely since Xiaomi phones hit the market in 2011. “From our perspective, it is a great addition to the team,” Lin said. It was only this year that Xiaomi began selling outside mainland China, but Lin said that with Barra’s help, the company hopes to expand to other countries late this year or early next year. “We are trying,” Lin said. Lin noted that, with Taiwan’s third-largest carrier, Xiaomi’s Mi-2 handset is the third best-selling phone model, behind the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4. In China, Xiaomi recently introduced a lower-cost model, known as “Red Rice,” that sells for 799 Chinese yuan (or $130, including the country’s value added tax).