The crane factory alone has scheduled two Sundays a month of extra production, In addition to a standard six-day workweek. Workers earn double pay on Sundays, said Song Decheng, who leads a team of workers building small cranes.
Yet that extra money has been slow to trickle to other businesses. While XCMG prospers, wide areas of China and parts of Xuzhou itself are still struggling.
Shoppers and repairmen used to throng the city’s construction-materials market, a dusty, two-block area of small shops specializing In paint, cupboards and hardware. On a recent afternoon, it was completely deserted except for the vendors. Shan Kehu, a mortar salesman, said that the only customers who showed up were opportunists looking to stock up on merchandise at a reduced price.
“We’re trying to keep the retail prices where they were before,” he said.
The worries are similar across the city at Xuzhou’s wholesale food market, a blocks-long labyrinth of open-sided steel sheds. A restaurant-supplies vendor, Cao Fang, complained that eateries have practically stopped buying utensils and plates.
At another vendor’s stall, half the bananas were getting too ripe to sell.
“It has gotten a lot better,” said the fruit seller Xin Xiaoli. “But it hasn’t gotten to our normal levels yet.”