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New Year resolutions expected for businesses

By Siva Sankar (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-25 08:00

New Year resolutions expected for businesses

A customer orders a taxi using the Didi Kuaidi app in Shanghai. The cab-hailing service is used by people of all ages, but some older customers say the technology is still too hard to use.[Photo/Xinhua]

The New Year is almost upon us, and promises to herald many changes as China calibrates its economic priorities in the 13th Five Year Plan (2016-20). But what's a New Year without some resolutions? So, here are 16 resolutions that I wish China's businesses and industry would adopt for 2016.

1. E-commerce: Go multi-lingual.

Online shopping festivals were fun, but could have been better for all residents if websites went live in multiple languages. E-commerce is going regional, national and global at the same time. As trade barriers fall, Chinese businesses and consumers could only benefit from multi-lingual websites providing easy access to the world. By the way, Indian e-commerce players such as have already gone multi-lingual.

2. Cabs-via-apps: Become legal, safe, secure, affordable and simple.

Despite huge investments and mergers, there is uncertainty about the legal status of these useful services. There are doubts too about their safety and security. They must remain affordable and, from the passenger's perspective, low-tech-even a 75-year-old should be able to e-hail a cab with no more than four taps on the touchscreen.

3. Smartphones: Have fewer capabilities, fewer updates.

And a quick-charging, longer-lasting battery, and easily accessible service centers. For the happiness of humanity.

4. Home and office ISPs: Provide stable, faster broadband Internet.

Nothing more needs to be said.

5. Mobile services: Ensure zero call drops, faster data, catch-free packs, comprehensible bills, pilfer-proof personal data protection.

Again, no explanation is needed.

6. Aviation: Develop compassion for cattle-class fliers.

Forget comfort, pleasure, joy-just ensure up-to-date information on ticketing, departures, arrivals, baggage allowances and flights. Ensure airport waits, pre-takeoff drills and seating do not force passengers to make New Year resolutions such as, "I shall never fly again."

7. Travel & tourism: End crime and manipulation on group tours.

No more buying of inessential or unwanted souvenirs and gifts. Promote theme-based inbound tourism. Publish Lonely Planet type tourist guides in multiple languages for each of China's provinces, regions and municipalities.

8. Food and beverages: Set up more food courts.

China's cities are becoming increasingly cosmopolitan. We need more food courts, like the new one below Carrefour, off the North Fourth Ring Road in Beijing, which offers the cuisine of Chinese provinces and many countries. Delicious, affordable meals have the power to make us forget and accept many of the harsh realities of life.

9. Infrastructure: Absorb workers made redundant by robotics.

The coming automation wave will have socioeconomic implications whose impact can be softened by channeling jobless labor into infrastructure development.

10. Online search engines: Weed out hijackers.

When was the last time your online search produced accurate links to authentic, really useful websites? Did you say last millennium? What a shame!

11. Sport: Unleash clubs, franchises, premier leagues.

The United States has basketball, the United Kingdom and Europe have soccer, India and Australia have cricket, and China? Sport as entertainment and lifestyle for spectators and viewers is a big business opportunity whose potential needs to be harnessed.

12. Banking: Improve efficiency.

Customers shouldn't be subjected to daylong waits at branches just to retrieve lost-and-found debit cards or exchange foreign currency. Ridiculous!

13. Healthcare: Capitalize on Nobel win to globalize traditional Chinese medicine.

But, at the same time, innovate in the direction of creating foolproof fusion medicine and fusion therapies.

14. Leisure & recreation: Redefine "de-stress".

Theme parks, ski resorts, amusement centers, you name it... are teeming with surging crowds during weekends and holidays. There is stress, and distress, and little chance to de-stress.

15. Movies: Try truly global.

I'd like Alibaba Pictures to produce an international flick (in theme, plot and music) with Asghar Farhadi directing an ensemble cast comprising Zhang Ziyi, Brad Pitt, Jackie Chan, Halle Berry, Akshay Kumar, Isabelle Huppert and Jet Li, all playing equally important roles.

16. Fashion: Make trendy, sexy masks.

The boring, depressing, murky smog isn't going anywhere, so we might as well have some color and fun. Bring on designer masks in myriad fluorescent hues, textures and shapes.

17. All businesses: Junk automated customer helplines with endless menus.

We've all had enough of "To reach A, dial 1, to reach Z, dial 9, to go back to the previous menu, die first and get reborn...", haven't we?

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