>Uber expands NY helicopters
Uber is giving riders the option to skip the traffic jam and hail a helicopter to the airport instead, provided they can shell out the money.
The ride-hailing company expanded its helicopter service between lower Manhattan in New York City and John F Kennedy International Airport, making it available to all Uber riders with iPhones instead of just those in the top tiers of its rewards program.
Uber's helicopter ride will cost $200-225 one-way per person on average, but the price fluctuates depending on demand.
Private helicopter flights, where customers charter an entire vehicle, typically cost thousands of dollars to fly to New York-area airports.
While Uber helicopters are far more expensive than public transit, and twice as much as some car services that can cost $100 or more during rush hour, the flight time between lower Manhattan and JFK is hard to beat: 8 minutes.
Uber cars will also pick up passengers on either end of the trip.
Uber's helicopters are owned and operated by a company called HeliFlite.
The service is available weekdays from about 1 pm to 6 pm.
>Lego considers rental scheme
Lego is considering a brick rental scheme in an attempt to cut down on plastic waste.
The Danish toymaker has vowed to make all its bricks from sustainable sources by 2030 and is plowing significant resources into finding alternatives.
Tim Brooks, vice-president responsible for sustainability, said the company was "totally open" to the idea of a product rental scheme but acknowledged that lost pieces could pose a significant problem.
He said the rental scheme was "possible" but admitted there were some "technical barriers", one of which is the complexity of some Lego kits, many of which contain thousands of pieces.
"What are the chances of giving them to an 8-year-old child and getting them all back again?" Brooks added. "There is a lot of technical thinking that needs to be done. We are right at beginning of that."
Lego manufactures 19 billion pieces per year - 36,000 a minute - that are made solely of plastic while much of the internal packaging is also plastic.
>Artificial meat debuts
The pre-sale of synthetic meat on Tmall, Alibaba's online marketplace, made the Zhejiang-based company Jinzi Ham the first in the country to take artificial meat to market, but its high price has daunted many consumers.
Prices start from 118 yuan for two boxes of artificial meat weighing 440 grams, six times the price of pork.
The product is made from plant proteins, including soybeans and peas.
The company said the product is similar to real meat in terms of nutrients, taste and texture, but some consumers have expressed doubts about the high prices.
Wang Qihui, the company's board secretary, said current pricing is based on cost and market research but when sales rise the price will change a lot.
>SH tops consumer spending
Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin took the top three spots in per capita consumption expenditure across China in the past three quarters, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.
The national per capita consumption expenditure reached 15,464 yuan, an 8.3 percent increase year-on-year, and a 5.7 percent rise after deducting price factors.
Shanghai continued to lead the nation at 33,557 yuan per person, followed by Beijing at 31,542 yuan and Tianjin at 23,751 yuan.
Shanghai also ranked first in per capita disposable income at 52,292 yuan.
A breakdown of spending finds most went to food, tobacco and alcohol and housing, but the biggest increase came in spending on education, culture and recreation, which surged 13.5 percent.
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