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.


Philippine jobless rate hits record 17.7% in April due to pandemic

Updated 05 June 2020

Philippine jobless rate hits record 17.7% in April due to pandemic

  • The Philippines is facing its biggest economic contraction in more than three decades
  • April’s 17.7 percent unemployment rate equivalent to 7.3 million people without jobs

MANILA: The Philippines’ unemployment rate surged to a record 17.7 percent in April, the statistics agency said on Friday, as millions lost their jobs due to a pandemic-induced lockdown that battered the economy.
The Philippines, which before the pandemic was one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, is facing its biggest contraction in more than three decades after the new coronavirus shuttered businesses and crushed domestic demand.
April’s unemployment rate, which is 7.3 million people without jobs, compares with 5.3 percent in January and 5.1 percent in April last year.
“We should not lose sight of the fact that this loss in employment is really temporary,” Economic Planning Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said in an online news conference.
The lockdown in the capital, Manila, which was one of the world’s longest and strictest, was relaxed as of June 1 to allow much-needed business activity to resume and soften the economic blow of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 20,000 in the country.