Universal’s Beijing Resort to Partner With Alibaba on Digitization

Variety | 10/16/2019 | Rebecca Davis
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Amid fierce controversy about the leverage China has over U.S. entertainment firms with significant mainland operations, Universal Beijing Resort and Alibaba announced a strategic partnership Thursday to digitize the forthcoming theme park in China’s capital.

Facial recognition and the use of big data will be the norm at the new resort, which will use an Alibaba operating system for park management and operations, the companies said. For visitors, this means they will be able to use Alibaba’s facial-recognition technology to enter the park, access lockers and express lanes, and pay for merchandise and meals. They can also skip lines and order food via an Alibaba app. Tmall, Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, will work with the park to co-market products.

Comcast - Chairman - CEO - Brian - Roberts

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts made the trip to Beijing for Thursday’s announcement, marking the project’s importance for the company.

Roberts said that operating a park was about “making it fun and easy for our guests to enjoy their time with family and friends” as much as it was about the rides. “Our partnership with Alibaba will help us do exactly that,” he said.

Companies - China - Partner - Order - Business

Foreign companies in China must have a local partner in order to do business in the country and access its enormous market. Universal Beijing Resort is owned by Beijing International Resort Company, a joint venture between Beijing Shouhuan Cultural Tourism Investment Company and Universal Parks and Resorts, a unit of Comcast NBCUniversal.

The collaboration will allow for the enactment of a “multi-dimensional data-enabled operations management solution for the industry” and the establishment of a “truly digitized theme park,” said Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Group’s executive chairman and CEO. “The future of commerce is driven by technology and big data, and digitization will be the source of brand-new growth opportunities for all businesses.”

Outskirts - Beijing

Located in the suburban outskirts of Beijing, the...
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