XIAN, China, May 25 (UPI) -- The global economic slowdown has begun to take a serious toll on the Chinese economy, a senior official said this week. \"The sharp slowdown in the economy has aroused the attention from policymakers,\" senior economist Zhang Liqun wrote on a government Web site, The New York Times reported Friday. Throughout the economic downturn that hobbled growth in the United States and Europe starting in 2007, the Chinese economy has remained the one most other nations could look upon with envy. But various reports suggest that may change. A recent survey concluded that more than half of China\'s 70 largest cities were experiencing falling property values. Both the construction and retail sectors have suffered from slowdowns. Further, the country\'s purchasing managers index in April fell to 49.3 with figures under 50 representing a contraction -- a sobering statistic for an economy that relies heavily on exports. A slowdown in China can quickly haunt other economies, as well. China is also a major importer of a long list of raw materials for production and a top buyer of agricultural commodities. China is not just a seller. It is an important customer, too. \"We didn\'t really feel the global financial crisis, but this year, we\'ve really felt it -- I don\'t see a solution unless people start buying,\" said Sun Yufang, a wholesale dealer of household appliances in the city of Xian.