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.


HP rejects Xerox takeover bid, says open to acquiring Xerox instead

Updated 18 November 2019

HP rejects Xerox takeover bid, says open to acquiring Xerox instead

  • In rejecting Xerox's $33.5 billion cash-and-stock acquisition offer, HP said the offer “significantly” undervalued the personal computer maker
  • Xerox made the offer for HP on Nov. 5 after resolving its dispute with its joint venture partner Fujifilm Holdings Corp.
NEW YORK: HP Inc. said on Sunday it was open to exploring a bid for US printer maker Xerox Corp. after rebuffing a $33.5 billion cash-and-stock acquisition offer from the latter as “significantly” undervaluing the personal computer maker.
Xerox made the offer for HP, a company more than three times its size, on Nov. 5, after it resolved a dispute with its joint venture partner Fujifilm Holdings Corp. that represented billions of dollars in potential liabilities.
Responding to Xerox’s offer on Sunday, HP said in a statement that it would saddle the combined company with “outsized debt” and was not in the best interest of its shareholders.
However, HP left the door open for a deal that would involve it becoming the acquirer of Xerox, stating that it recognized the potential benefits of consolidation.
“With substantive engagement from Xerox management and access to diligence information on Xerox, we believe that we can quickly evaluate the merits of a potential transaction,” HP said in its statement.
The move puts pressure on Xerox to open its books to HP. Xerox did not immediately respond on Sunday to a request for comment on whether it will engage with HP in negotiations as the potential acquisition target, rather than the acquirer.
HP on Sunday published Xerox CEO John Visentin’s Nov. 5 offer letter to HP, in which he stated that his company was “prepared to devote all necessary resources to finalize our due diligence on an accelerated basis.”
Activist investor Carl Icahn, who took over Xerox’s board last year together with fellow billionaire businessman Darwin Deason, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week that he was not set on a particular structure for a deal with HP, as long as a combination is achieved. Icahn has also amassed a 4% stake in HP.
Xerox had offered HP shareholders $22 per share that included $17 in cash and 0.137 Xerox shares for each HP share, according to the Nov. 5 letter. The offer would have resulted in HP shareholders owning about 48% of the combined company. HP shares ended trading on Friday at $20.18.
Many analysts have said there is merit in the companies combining to better cope with a stagnating printing market, but some cited challenges to integration, given their different offerings and pricing models.
Xerox scrapped its $6.1 billion deal to merge with Fujifilm last year under pressure from Icahn and Deason.
Xerox announced earlier this month it would sell its 25% stake in the joint venture for $2.3 billion. Fujifilm also agreed to drop a lawsuit against Xerox, which it was pursuing following their failed merger.

Test for new HP CEO
In 2011 as the centerpiece of its unsuccessful pivot to software. Little over a year later, it wrote off $8.8 billion, $5 billion of which it put down to accounting improprieties, misrepresentation and disclosure failures.
More recently, HP has been struggling with its printer business segment recently, with the division’s third-quarter revenue dropping 5% on-year. It has announced a cost-saving program worth more than $1 billion that could result in its shedding about 16% of its workforce, or about 9,000 employees, over the next few years.
Xerox’s stock has rallied under Visentin, who took over last year as CEO. However, HP said on Sunday that a decline in Xerox’s revenue since June 2018 from $10.2 billion to $9.2 “raises significant questions” regarding the trajectory of Xerox’s business and future prospects.