Xiaomi CEO and co-founder, Lei Jun has warned that the company’s upcoming flagship smartphones may not be as affordable as its previous releases. Speaking at a public event in China, Jun said that the company wishes to get rid of the reputation of making relatively cheap hardware.
The brand’s latest flagship smartphone, the Mi 9 was launched last month. It starts at 2,999 yuan ($446) in China. Its predecessor, the Mi 8, was launched at a starting price of 2,699 yuan ($402). While the price gap between the Mi 8 and Mi 9 isn’t very significant, you can expect the next flagship smartphone from Xiaomi to be even more expensive than the Mi 9. That said, Xiaomi flagship smartphones will still be priced significantly lower compared to flagship models from other major Android OEMs. In Europe, Xiaomi’s Mi 9 is available for a starting price of €449. Samsung’s new Galaxy S10, in comparison, starts at €900 for the base variant with 128GB storage.
Jun said, “Actually, we want to get rid of this reputation that our phones cost less than RMB 2,000. We want to invest more and make better products”. The executive added, “I said internally that this might be the last time our price will be under RM 3,000. In the future our phone might get more expensive-not a lot, but a little more expensive.”
Xiaomi had announced the conversion of its Redmi series of budget Android smartphones into a new sub-brand in January this year. The decision was made mainly to help differentiate the Mi brand from the budget-oriented Redmi brand. By doing so, Xiaomi hopes that it will be able to increase its market share in the premium segment, where it isn’t very popular currently, at least in markets outside China.
However, Jun’s remarks in no way suggest that Redmi smartphones will also become more expensive in the future. As mentioned earlier, Redmi is now an independent brand and will continue to focus on bringing high-value smartphones to consumers in China, India and various other markets.