Xiaomi snaps up another Google exec to head India branch, responds to Jony Ive’s Apple “theft” remark

Saqib Shah
October 13, 2014

Following massive demand for its devices in India, Xiaomi has named a new Lead Products Manager to further spur growth in the region.

Former Google exec Jai Mani has been picked as the man for the job, according to a Google Plus post from the Hugo Barra – the Chinese manufacturer’s VP.

Barra, who himself is a former Google employee (the Brazilian computer scientist was formerly in charge of the company’s Android division), also stated that Mani has completed his move from San Francisco to Bangalore.

“Android fans: you’ll remember Jai from his memorable on-stage demo performances at Google I/O and Nexus launches,” said Barra.

Mani’s most recent role was as the head of a tech startup but before that he’d held a number of positions at Google, including his longest running placement as Google Play Strategy and Analytics Associate.

Barra previously mentioned that Xiaomi is looking to heavily invest in India by building a team that can cater to localisation needs. The new country-specific appointment is an indication that it is now ramping up its efforts.

Xiaomi currently sells its devices, such as the affordable Redmi phone and flagship Mi4, through Indian e-retailer Flipkart. The company’s flash sales of its handsets have become increasingly popular, with thousands of its products now selling out in a matter of minutes.

In other Xiaomi news, the company’s President Lin Bin has responded to the design theft allegations from Apple’s head designer Sir Jonathan Ive.

Bin offered to give Ive a Xiaomi phone so he could learn the difference between the companies’ devices.

“Xiaomi is a very open company, which would never force anyone to use its products. However, one can only judge Xiaomi’s gadgets after he or she has used them,” Lin told the state-run China News Service today.

“I’m very willing to give a Xiaomi cell phone to him [Jonathan Ive] as a present, and I look forward to hearing his remarks after he uses it.”

Ive’s statement came at a Vanity Fair event last week, when an attendee asked him about his thoughts on iPhone copycats, including Xiaomi.

About the Author

Saqib Shah

Tech/gaming journalist for What Mobile magazine and website. Interests include film, digital media and foreign affairs.

Share this article