Universal Studios park in China to have facial recognition tech

ans get ready to enter Hogsmeade at the Grand Opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter" at Universal Studios Hollywood, in Universal City, California. (File/AFP)
Updated 18 October 2019

Universal Studios park in China to have facial recognition tech

BEIJING: The Universal Studios amusement park under construction in Beijing will admit visitors without a ticket — thanks to cameras that will scan their faces to determine if they’ve paid for entry.
The technology is part of a host of services owned by Chinese Internet giant Alibaba that will be integrated into Universal’s park, the companies announced at a press event in Beijing on Thursday.
Inside the park, facial recognition cameras linked to Alibaba’s Alipay electronic payment platform will allow visitors to open storage lockers, pay for meals and join express queues for rides.
Facial recognition technology is gaining traction across China, where it is being used for everything from supermarket checkouts to surveillance.
While researchers have warned of the privacy risks associated with gathering facial recognition data, consumers have widely embraced the technology.
“There is no more seamless way to enjoy what we’re building than using the Alibaba technology,” said Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast, which owns Universal.

Alibaba, which rose to prominence as an online shopping company, has in recent years invested intensively in entertainment and tourism.
The company’s Alipay app is widely used in China alongside rival WeChat Pay as an alternative to cash.
Universal’s Beijing park, which will feature characters from Hollywood blockbusters like Harry Potter and Kung Fu Panda, was first announced in 2014 after receiving approval from China’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission.
Construction is under way in the Chinese capital’s Tongzhou suburban district and the park is expected to open its gates in 2021.
Visitors who don’t wish to have their faces scanned will still have other ways of getting into the park and paying for food and merchandise, Universal staff told AFP.
The Beijing amusement park, part of a larger resort that will include three hotels, will be competing for the Chinese market against Shanghai’s Disneyland, which opened in June 2016.


Oil retreats in face of renewed coronavirus uncertainty

Updated 22 February 2020

Oil retreats in face of renewed coronavirus uncertainty

  • G20 finance leaders to meet in Saudi Arabia at the weekend to discuss risks to the global economy
  • OPEC+ has been withholding supply to support prices and many analysts expect an extension or deepening of the curbs

LONDON: Oil prices fell on Friday as weak Asian data and a rise in new coronavirus cases fuelled uncertainty about the economic outlook while leading crude producers appeared to be in no rush to curb output.

Brent crude was down $1.56, or 2.6 percent, at $57.75 in afternoon trade, while U.S. crude dropped $1.25, or 2.3 percent, to $52.63.

"With Brent failing to breach the $60 level on Thursday despite better than expected U.S. oil inventory data, rising market uncertainty is dragging down oil prices on Friday," said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

"Market participants who benefited from the price rise in recent days might prefer not to go into the weekend with a long position."

 

China reports rise in coronavirus cases.

Japan factory activity shrinks at fastest pace since 2012.

Russia says early OPEC+ meeting no longer makes sense.

Finance leaders from the Group of 20 major economies meet in Saudi Arabia at the weekend to discuss risks to the global economy after new Asian economic and health data kept investors on guard.

Beijing reported an uptick in coronavirus cases on Friday and South Korea reported 100 new cases, doubling its infections. In Japan, meanwhile, more than 80 people have tested positive for the virus.

Factory activity in Japan registered its steepest contraction in seven years in February, hurt by fallout from the outbreak. 

"We still believe that the market is likely to trade lower from current levels, given the scale of the surplus over the first half of this year, and the need for the market to send a signal to OPEC+ that they must take further action at their meeting in early March," said ING analyst Warren Patterson.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that global oil producers understood it would no longer make sense for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies to meet before the planned gathering.

The group, known as OPEC+, has been withholding supply to support prices and many analysts expect an extension or deepening of the curbs.