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Former U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a state arrival ceremony on the south lawn of the White House grounds September 25, 2015 in Washington, DC.

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Former U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a state arrival ceremony on the south lawn of the White House grounds September 25, 2015 in Washington, DC.

China has been violating an agreement with the United States aimed at stopping cyber espionage through the hacking of government and corporate data, a senior U.S. intelligence official said on Thursday.

When asked if China was violating the 2015 agreement between then President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, National Security Agency official Rob Joyce said: “We think they are.”

But he added that the quantity and number of attacks had dropped “dramatically” since the agreement.

“While it’s not black and white, (China) met the agreement or they didn’t meet the agreement, it’s clear that they are well beyond the bounds today of the agreement that was forged between our countries,” Joyce said.

In September 2015, Obama announced he had reached a “common understanding” with Xi on curbing economic cyber espionage, but threatened to impose U.S. sanctions on Chinese hackers who persist in committing cyber crimes.

The two leaders said they agreed that neither government would knowingly support cyber theft of corporate secrets or business information.

The agreement, however, stopped short of any promise to refrain from traditional government-to-government cyber spying for intelligence purposes.

That could include the massive hack of the U.S. federal government’s personnel office this year that compromised the data of more than 20 million people. U.S. officials have traced that back to China, but have not said whether they believe the Chinese government was responsible.

The United States and China will hold a delayed top-level security dialogue on Friday, the latest sign of a thaw in the countries’ strained relations amid an ongoing trade row ahead of a planned meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Argentina at the end of November.

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China to surpass the US in retail sales for the first time: Forecast

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“The new Chinese generation are digital natives, at the same time, always looking for unique experiences,” said Mark Lunt, group managing director of IT consultancy and services company JOS. As revenue from online sales channels continues to grow, he said, “traditional brick and mortar retailers extend consumers’ choice through providing integrated, consistent customer experience across their digital and physical touch points.”

Lunt said part of China’s retail growth is being driven by the likes of artificial intelligence, big data, the so-called Internet of Things and cloud computing. He said such technologies will integrate online with offline retail channels to offer more personalized buying experiences.

In 2019, China will account for nearly 56 percent of all online retail sales globally, with that figure expected to
exceed 63 percent by 2022, according to the eMarketer report. The share of the U.S. market, meanwhile was projected to drop from 17 percent to 15 percent in that same time.

The world’s largest retailer, Alibaba, is expected to see its retail sales in China grow by nearly 20 percent in 2019, according to eMarketer, but its total share of China’s e-commerce sales was forecast to fall to just 53 percent this year, compared to nearly 70 percent in 2016.

Alibaba has opened numerous tech-enabled brick and mortar stores in the recent years, including more than 100 grocery stores under the Hema brand.

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Apple lays off over 200 from Project Titan autonomous vehicle group

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In August 2018, Apple enlisted a Tesla engineering vice president and Apple veteran, Doug Field, to lead the Titan team alongside Bob Mansfield. This week’s dismissals from the group were seen, internally, as anticipated restructuring under the relatively new leadership.

Other employees who were impacted by the restructuring of Project Titan are staying at Apple, but moving to different parts of the company.

Of late, Apple CEO Tim Cook has touted his company’s initiatives in health as the key to its future growth. “I believe, if you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, “What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind?” it will be about health,” Cook told CNBC’s Jim Cramer.

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shares jump despite disappointing earnings

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Company Vice President Sean Kim said the memory demand slowdown would be bigger than expected into the first half of 2019 due to China’s economic slowdown and the U.S.-China “trade situation,” according to Reuters.

Kim’s comments came days after China announced that the country’s economic growth in 2018 was its slowest in nearly three decades. At the same time, Beijing and Washington are attempting to strike a deal amid an ongoing trade dispute which has seen the two largest economies in the world slap billions of dollars worth of tariffs on each other’s goods.

Some analysts were not surprised by the earnings report from SK Hynix.

“(The) results were as expected,” Daniel Yoo, head of global strategy at Kiwoom Securities, told CNBC in an email.

However, he warn that both SK Hynix and its rival Samsung were likely to see their operating profit for the first two quarters of 2019 coming in “less than half of last year’s record high(s).”

Yoo’s sentiments were echoed by Sanjeev Rana, a senior analyst at CLSA.

“I think we have a little bit more pain to go for the next two quarters,” Rana told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday.

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