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Delta Airlines Airbus A330-200 airplane with registration N851NW is seen landing at London's Heathrow Airport.

Nicolas Economou | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Delta Airlines Airbus A330-200 airplane with registration N851NW is seen landing at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Frequent flyers who like to pick their seats may need to shell out more miles for their next award ticket.

Delta Air Lines has been quietly offering its most restrictive tickets to loyal travelers on some routes. Since last month, Delta has been offering SkyMiles members no-frills basic economy award tickets, along side those for standard coach class and first or business class. Passengers booked in basic economy are barred from making changes to their tickets and from selecting a seat ahead of time, and also board last.

Delta was the first among the three biggest U.S. airlines to offer basic economy fares in 2012. American Airlines and United Airlines rolled out their own versions of the bare-bones fares last year. Executives have not been shy that they measure the success of this fare class by how many passengers book the higher fare to avoid the basic economy restrictions.

The frequent-flyer miles required for a free ticket varies by route and demand, but a search for Dec. 14-21 trip from Detroit to Charleston, South Carolina, was 47,000 Skymiles in basic economy and 50,500 for a regular coach ticket.

“It seems like a really risky move,” said Gary Leff, a travel and loyalty program specialist who noted the new offering in his View from the Wing blog. A ticket purchased with miles is “supposed to be an experience, not a pain.”

If the SkyMiles member chooses the basic economy award ticket on Delta’s website, a window pops up reminding the loyalty program member of the basic economy restrictions, much like it does if the traveler simply bought the ticket.

Delta is currently presenting the basic economy option on nonstop and connecting flights from Minneapolis to Phoenix and flights to and from Charleston from within the U.S. and Canada.

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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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