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XCMG to be a Real Winner for ‘One Belt, One Road’ Initiative

Date:2017-05-17 Source:nytimes

www.chinatrucks.com: As China plans to build a raft of roads, rail lines, ports and airports across Asia, Africa and Europe, skeptics say Chinese companies will be the only real winners from the ambitious initiative.

The government-controlled Chinese maker of construction machinery, the Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group, known as X.C.M.G. Such businesses, facing a maturing market at home, are eager to find new markets — a core ambition of the plan.

At one of X.C.M.G.’s cavernous factories here in north-central China, workers are rushing to double the number of excavators that can be made each year, mainly by adding robots to the assembly process. The initiative has the factory humming 16 hours a day, six days a week.

“‘One Belt, One Road’ makes our internationalization strategy like a tiger with wings added,” said Wang Min, X.C.M.G.’s chairman.

Mr. Xi has designated the city of Xuzhou — a dusty rail hub roughly halfway along the five-hour bullet train trip between Beijing and Shanghai — as a key manufacturing base for his policy. At the foot of a hill here topped by a new complex of Buddhist temples, Caterpillar has one of the world’s biggest construction machinery factories, making huge pieces of digging equipment.

Nearby, its local rival X.C.M.G. is ramping up. Employing 23,000 workers in this city and controlled by the Xuzhou municipal government, X.C.M.G. is China’s largest manufacturer of construction machinery, from excavators to cranes to bulldozers.

The factory makes tank-size excavators in a series of four halls with 80-foot-high steel roofs. Almost everything inside is new, from the 13 steel-cutting robots the size of cottages to the costly Italian and Japanese machining equipment that precisely trim steel components.

Mr. Wang, X.C.M.G.’s chairman, dismissed concerns that the business won’t materialize.

“We should be persistent and manage our business as well,” he said. “When the spring comes, we will arise abruptly.”

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