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Xiaomi co-founder and CEO, Lei Jun, warns that Xiaomi phones could get more expensive in future releases as the company attempts to leave behind its reputation for producing cheap hardware.

The company’s flagship Mi 9 phone, launched Feb. 20 in Beijing, is packed with new features: three separate back cameras, a powerful Qualcomm Snapdradon 855 chip, wireless charging—and a slightly higher price tag.

The Mi 9 starts at RMB 2,999 (around $446), while the Transparent Edition sells for RMB 3,999. The stripped-down SE edition starts at RMB 1,999. The previous model, Mi 8, started at RMB 2,699.

Lei 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.”

He added, “I said internally that this might be the last time our price will be under RMB 3,000… In the future our phones might get more expensive—not a lot, but a little more expensive.”

Cassidy McDonald is a Beijing-based multimedia journalist who covers technology's effect on Chinese society. She tweets at @CMcD123.

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