Blasting past last year’s US$12 billion, China’s eager online shoppers have spent US$17.9 billion halfway through the annual Singles Day shopfest.
Indeed, the midday tally has surpassed last year’s US$17.7 billion 24-hour total.
The figure is for Alibaba’s two marketplaces, which dominate China’s booming ecommerce industry. No consumer expenditure figure for the day is available from JD, Alibaba’s closest rival.
China’s online shoppers are set to spend around US$1.2 trillion during the course of this year, according to data from Emarketer.
Apple shares have risen to a record high as the tech giant's iPhone X hit shelves around the world.
The launch coincided with strong results for Apple, with sales increasing by 12% to $52.6bn (£40bn) for the three months to September.
The tenth anniversary iPhone, which retails for £999, is Apple's most expensive handset yet.
Analysts said Apple was now closer to becoming the first trillion dollar company, as shares rose 2%.
The California-based firm, which also sells computers, iPads and makes revenue from apps, is now valued at nearly $900bn (£690bn).
Shoppers queued up at Apple stores in dozens of countries, as the high-end iPhone X launched on Friday.
The iPhone X abandons the signature "home" button and can be unlocked with face-scanning technology, among other new features.
"A trillion-dollar market cap may now be in Cook's sights in light of these results and guidance around iPhone X," said Daniel Ives, an analyst at GBH Insights.
Mr Cook said the company was "firing on all cylinders", thanks to a sales rebound in China, record purchases through the App Store and robust demand for its latest iPhone models.
It sold more than 46.6 million phones in the July to September period, up 3% year-on-year. That produced $28.8bn, or more than half of its revenue.
Other products, including the Mac, iPad and Apple Watch, also did well, growing in the double digits.
The firm got another boost from its services division, which includes the App store, Apple Pay and its music subscriptions service.
That unit made $8.5bn in the quarter, up 34% year-on-year, thanks in part to a one-time adjustment.
Though its costs increased, Apple said profits were $10.7bn in the quarter, increasing 18%.
Augmented reality future?
Apple said it expects to make between $84bn and $87bn in revenue in the upcoming quarter - a record for the company.
Mr Cook said the iPhone X positioned Apple ahead of the curve when it comes to new augmented reality or AR technologies.
He said the technologies were poised to "change everything". For example, he said, shoppers will be able to see how furniture looks in their living rooms before making a purchase.
"I view AR as profound, not today... but what it will be, what it can be," he said. "I think it's profound and I think Apple is in a really unique position to lead in this area."
German carmaker Audi is offering a free software upgrade for 850,000 diesel cars in order to improve emissions.
Audi said the upgrade would "improve emissions behaviour in real driving conditions further beyond existing legal requirements".
The carmaker added it was convinced the programme would counteract possible bans on diesel cars.
In recent days, rival German carmakers Mercedes and Daimler issued recalls involving three million vehicles.
The Audi recall affects cars fitted with six- and eight-cylinder diesel motors meeting the Euro 5 and Euro 6 emissions criteria, including some models made by parent company Volkswagen and sister firm Porsche.
The upgrade is available for Audi cars with affected engines in Europe and other markets outside North America.
The Reuters news agency reported that German car industry officials and politicians had agreed to improve diesel vehicles' emissions through software updates in order to avoid diesel bans in cities.
Arndt Ellinghorst, an analyst at investment bank Evercore ISI, said there could be many more of these fixes to come: "What Audi and Mercedes have announced is just the tip of the iceberg. All other carmakers will follow and offer improvements to the engine management software.
"If this isn't an industry-wide action, city driving bans might be the painful alternative."
Japanese car parts maker Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Japan.
It is facing billions of dollars in liabilities over its defective airbags, which have been linked to at least 17 deaths worldwide.
Some of the airbags contained faulty inflators which expanded with too much force, spraying metal shrapnel.
US-based Key Safety Systems (KSS) has bought all of Takata's assets, apart from those relating to the airbags.
The $1.6bn (£1.3bn) deal was announced after the Japanese firm filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US, with similar action taken in Japan.
"Although Takata has been impacted by the global airbag recall, the underlying strength of its skilled employee base, geographic reach, and exceptional steering wheels, seat belts and other safety products have not diminished," said KSS chief executive Jason Luo.
More than 100 million cars with Takata airbags, including around 70 million vehicles in the US, have been recalled since concerns first emerged in 2007. It is the biggest safety recall in automotive history.
The unknowns - by Mariko Oi, BBC News
The faulty airbags are believed to have been manufactured between 2000 and 2008 in Takata's US factory.
The first explosion happened to a Honda Accord in 2004 in Alabama, injuring the driver. But both Takata and Honda said it was "an anomaly" and didn't disclose the danger of exploding airbags for years.
It was a decade later in 2014 when the New York Times reported about its alleged cover-up which led to legal action against Takata. The firm finally accepted the full responsibilities the following year.
The company's chairman and CEO Shigehisa Takada - who's the grandson of the founder - has been criticised repeatedly for mishandling the crisis.
In a press conference on Monday, he apologised and promised to resign after a new management team takes over.
But there are still many unknowns.
The cause of the malfunctions has not yet been identified, and despite the size of the the recall, Takata admits it is not clear how many of the airbags are still in vehicles on the roads.
In January, Takata agreed to pay $1bn (£784m) in penalties in the US for concealing dangerous defects, and pleaded guilty to a single criminal charge.
The firm paid a $25m fine, $125m to people injured by the airbags as well as $850m to carmakers that used them.
But it is facing further legal action in the US and liabilities of 1 trillion yen ($9bn) - including to 10 carmakers who used its airbags.
Three of them - Honda, Nissan and Toyota - who have been paying recall costs until now, told the BBC that while they would continue negotiating, they were not hopeful of getting the money back.
Trading in Takata shares has been suspended on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and the firm will be delisted late next month.
Small businesses that may be affected by Takata's bankruptcy will get support including loan guarantees says Japanese trade minister Hiroshige Seko.
China's economy grew by 6.9% in the first quarter of 2017, according to official figures.
The growth rate, which compares expansion with the same three months in the previous year, was slightly higher than many economists had forecast.
State-led infrastructure spending and demand for new property helped drive the world's second-largest economy.
Last month China cut its growth target for this year to 6.5% from 6.7% in 2016.
Another set of data also suggests a rise in domestic consumption. February retail sales jumped 10.9% from the previous year.
Analysis: Karishma Vaswani, Asia Business CorrespondentWhile we should always remain sceptical of the Chinese government's GDP data, these figures suggest that growth is stabilising.
However, they also demonstrate that Beijing is relying on the same old tricks to drive its economy.
Government spending on infrastructure, a booming property market and taking on debt were all things China's leadership has pledged to move away from in the transition towards a new, modern, open economy.
Yet all three factors are still evident in this data, suggesting that the "old" model of growth that relies so much on the state is alive and well.
Debt is a particular concern. China's total and private debt is now worth more than 250% of GDP and looks set to grow. Analysts are divided about just how equipped China is to handle that much debt, but even the government has said the situation is not ideal and must be addressed.
The question is just how much political appetite there will be to accept a less-than-glamorous growth rate in a year when President Xi Jinping has arguably his most important party congress coming up.
Property slowdown?China is a key driver of the global economy and its performance is closely watched by investors around the world. Its 2016 growth was its slowest in in 26 years.
Hidenobu Tokuda of the Mizuho Research Institute in Tokyo said China should be trying to slow its growth rate in the long term, though "uncertainties remain high" about how that slowdown would happen.
Meanwhile Brian Jackson of IHS Global Insight predicted both industrial output and the property sector would slow.
The footage taken inside the airliner shows a man being violently pulled out of his seat and dragged down the aisle as passengers prepared to take off from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday evening.
The airline in question - United - has tweeted an apology for what happened and says it is investigating.
One 50-second clip of the incident on Twitter was re-tweeted 16,000 times since it was posted that day.
Jayse D Anspach, who posted the footage, tweeted: "#United overbooked and wanted four of us to volunteer to give up our seats for personnel that needed to be at work the next day."
"No one volunteered, so United decided to choose for us. They chose an Asian doctor and his wife."
"The doctor needed to work at the hospital the next day, so he refused to volunteer," Mr Anspach added.
"Ten minutes later, the doctor runs back into the plane with a bloody face, clings to a post in the back, chanting, "I need to go home."
United Airlines incident: What went wrong?
One of the three security officers involved has been "placed on leave", the Chicago Department of Aviation said, and his actions were "obviously not condoned by the Department".
The department also said it would carry out a review into the incident, which it said was "not in accordance with our standard operating procedure".
Another passenger Audra D. Bridges, posted a video of the incident on Facebook that has been viewed over 400,000 times.
She wrote: "Please share this video. We are on this flight. United airlines overbooked the flight."
"They randomly selected people to kick off so their standby crew could have a seat.
"This man is a doctor and has to be at the hospital in the morning," she added.
"He did not want to get off. We are all shaky and so disgusted."
Thousands of Facebook comments have been posted about what happened.
One person wrote: "This is infuriating"
Another posted: "OMG So sad to see someone being treated like this. I wont fly United ever again."
But another felt the video raised some unanswered questions.
"There has to be more to this story," he said.
"Usually when a flight is overbooked they offer free flight vouchers to those willing to change flights or go on standby and a couple of people will jump at those as their travel plans may be flexible."
"I feel like this specific incident HAS to be deeper than what we are seeing in this video," he added.
In a statement United airlines told the BBC: "Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked."
"After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate," the airline added.
The chief executive of United, Oscar Munoz, has since made a statement on Twitter: "This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologise for having to re-accommodate these customers."
"Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened.
"We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve the situation," he added.
Tesla's market value has overtaken that of Ford after shares in the electric car maker added more than 7%.
At the close of trading Tesla had a market value of $49bn (£38bn), compared with Ford's value of $46bn.
Tesla's shares rose on Monday after the company announced record vehicle deliveries in the first three months of the year.
The firm delivered more than 25,000 cars in the first quarter, up 70% on the same quarter last year.
While Tesla's sales are growing fast they are still a fraction of Ford's, which sold almost 6.7 million vehicles in 2016.
Tesla delivered 76,000 electric cars last year.
However, investors are excited about the growth potential of Tesla.
This year it plans to start selling a cheaper car in the US, the Model 3, which it hopes will have mass market appeal.
"Five years ago no one knew what a Tesla was. Now people want a Tesla. It has usurped BMW as an aspirational car," said Ben Kallo, energy technology analyst at Robert W Baird.
Mr Kallo said that the charisma, or what he described as the "magic dust" surrounding Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk, allows it to attract talented staff as well as investors.
"Tesla has more going on in those four walls than we know about," he said.
Meanwhile, Tesla has made a huge investment in battery production, building a $5bn factory in Nevada that when fully developed will be the biggest building in the world.
Mr Musk, hopes that by operating at that kind of scale his company can innovate faster and cut the cost of batteries by 30%.
As well as supplying batteries for cars, the plant makes batteries for homes and businesses.
In what was seen as a vote on confidence in the firm, last month China's Tencent spent $1.78bn on buying a 5% stake in Tesla.
President Donald Trump has signed two executive orders targeting the US trade deficit, ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit.
One order includes a study looking at causes of the deficit by examining unpaid duties and foreign trade abuses.
The second will initiate a review of the American trade deficit and rules Mr Trump says harm US workers.
Administration officials said Beijing was not the focus, but China is the largest source of the US trade deficit.
"We are going to get these bad trade deals straightened out," he told reporters during the signing.
"These actions are designed to let the world know that this is a president taking another step to fulfil his campaign promise," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday night, previewing the executive orders.
Mr Trump spent a large part of his presidential campaign railing against the US trade deficit and foreign trade deals.
Mr Ross will lead a comprehensive review accounting for the sources of the $502.3bn trade deficit and report back to the White House after 90 days.
The study will look at whether cheating, trade deals, lax enforcement and World Trade Organization rules play a role in the deficit, according to Mr Ross.
The orders also will focus on stricter enforcement of the US anti-dumping laws and countervailing duties, or the penalties imposed on foreign governments who violate trade rules, as well as pirated and counterfeited intellectual property owned by US companies.
The pair of orders come one week before Mr Trump meets the Chinese president at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
Director of the White House National Trade Council Peter Navarro told reporters that the orders had nothing to do with Mr Xi's visit.
But China is the source of America's highest trade deficit, at $347bn a year.
"Nothing we're saying tonight is about China. Let's not make this a China story. This is a story about trade abuses, this is a story about an under-collection of duties," Mr Navarro said.
Mr Trump tweeted on Thursday night that his first meeting with Mr Xi would "be a very difficult one in that we can no longer have massive trade deficits...and job losses".
"American companies must be prepared to look at other alternatives," he added.
The half trillion-dollar deficit slightly increased from 2015, according to the Commerce Department.
The trade gap reached a record level since 2012 last year, though the imbalance remains below its previous high in 2006.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) unveiled its Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone as it battles to regain the market leadership it lost to Apple Inc (AAPL.O) after the embarrassing withdrawal of the fire-prone Note 7s.
Boasting some of the largest wrap-around screens ever made, the long-awaited S8 is the South Korean technology company's first new premium phone since its September recall of all Galaxy Note 7 smartphones equipped with fire-prone batteries. Samsung halted their sales in 10 markets, and the phones were banned from aircraft in the United States, denting a revival of the firm's mobile business.
Two versions of the Galaxy S8, code-named Dream internally, were launched at a media event in New York on Wednesday, with 6.2-inch (15.75 cm) and 5.8-inch curved screens - the largest to date for Samsung's premium smartphones. They will go on sale on April 21.
"We must be bold enough to step into the unknown and humble enough to learn from our mistakes," D.J. Koh, the company's mobile chief, said at the event after acknowledging that it had been a challenging year for Samsung.
U.S. carriers T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) announced retail pricing for the smaller S8 around $700. The larger phone will sell for $840 at Verizon and $850 at T-Mobile.
The S8 features Samsung's new artificial intelligence service, Bixby, with functions including a voice-commanded assistant system similar to Apple's Siri. There is also a new facial recognition application that lets users unlock their phones by looking at them.
Samsung is hoping the design update and the new features, focused on making life easier for consumers, will be enough to revive sales in a year Apple is expected to introduce major changes to its iPhones, including the very curved screens that have become staples of the Galaxy brand.
The S8 is also crucial for Samsung's image as a maker of reliable mobile devices. The self-combusting Galaxy Note 7s had to be scrapped in October just two months after their launch, and the recall was particularly damaging, investors and analysts say.
"The Galaxy S8 is the most important phone for Samsung in a decade and every aspect will be under the microscope following the Note 7 recall," said Ben Wood, a veteran smartphone industry analyst with UK-based CCS Insight.
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has launched Neuralink, a start-up which aims to develop technology that connects our brains to computers.
A report from the Wall Street Journal, later confirmed in a tweet by Mr Musk, said the company was in its very early stages and registered as a “medical research” firm.
The company will develop so-called “neural lace” technology which would implant tiny electrodes into the brain.
The technique could be used to improve memory or give humans added artificial intelligence.
According to the Journal, leading academics in the field have been signed up to work at the company which is being funded privately by Mr Musk.
Specialists in the field envision a time when humans may be able to upload and download thoughts.
In a tweet on Tuesday evening, Mr Musk confirmed the existence of the company and said more details about the firm would be made public next week via WaitButWhy - a site known for illustrating its lengthy post with often crude but charming stick figure drawings.
Mr Musk is considered one of Silicon Valley’s most visionary figures - and surely now its busiest.
As well as heading electric carmaker Tesla, Mr Musk is involved with running space exploration company Space X, a project to reinvent transport called Hyperloop and, most recently, a firm investigating the feasibility of boring tunnels underneath Los Angeles - and a new project to power Australia.
Tweeting about Neuralink, Mr Musk conceded it would be “difficult to dedicate the time, but existential risk is too high not to”.