Military Review

China becomes a major arms exporter


Of course, China is not yet the world sales leader. weapons... The first line in this rating has been occupied by the United States for a long time. But if we take the growth rates, then the PRC will be the fastest growing arms exporter.

China's place among the world's arms exporters

In recent years, China has been in the top five in terms of arms sales, with the United States, Russia, France and Germany also present. In the period from 2014 to 2018, the military products of these countries accounted for three quarters of the total volume of weapons produced in the world.

From time to time, Beijing ranks even higher in the rankings of the world's arms manufacturers. For example, at the beginning of the year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) calculated that China was ahead of Russia in terms of arms exports and ranked second after the United States.

The largest Chinese arms manufacturer was AVIC, which produces aircraft and avionics. It is also worth paying attention to the company NORINCO, which turned out to be the world's largest manufacturer of ground military equipment.

Who buys Chinese weapons

The main buyers of Chinese weapons are the countries of the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East. These regions are considered the main markets for Beijing. And the largest importers among them are Pakistan and Bangladesh. These two countries are moving closer to the PRC, most likely on the basis of hostility and even hostility towards India.

Of course, India, being one of the world's largest arms importers, has never bought anything from China. For political reasons, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Australia also fundamentally do not purchase weapons from the PRC.

China is not bound by any restrictions in the choice of business partners, since Beijing has not signed any agreements prohibiting it from supplying arms to any country in the world. Therefore, traditionally, the clients of the Chinese military industry are states with which other arms dealers do not want to contact or have no right. These are, for example, North Korea and Iran. Back in the 80s, when the Iran-Iraq war was going on, both sides of the conflict received Chinese weapons. Yes, and cooperation with Pakistan began when it was under international sanctions due to the development of nuclear weapons.

In addition, weapons with the Made in China brand were bought by poor countries, who preferred it to Western models because of the low price. Of course, many types of weapons from China are inferior in quality to competitors from other states, but they also have their own advantages. First, the prices of Chinese weapons are relatively low. And secondly, when making deals, China offers additional bonuses, gifts, a flexible payment system, service, etc.

True, among the buyers of arms from China there are also rich Arab states of the Persian Gulf, for example. Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia. This means that, as with civilian goods, not everything Chinese is of low quality.

Over the past few years, China has been actively promoting weapons on the African continent. Things are going so well there that about a third of Africa's arms market is already owned by the Chinese, according to SIPRI. The gunsmiths from the PRC also have clients in Latin America.

In total, from 2014 to 2018, China sold its weapons to 53 countries of the world. At the same time, 70 percent of the total volume of supplies was sent during this period to the countries of the Asia-Pacific region (APR).

What types of weapons are bought in China

Beijing sells guided and ballistic missiles, assorted unmanned aerial vehicles, surface ships, submarines and much more to the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region, that is, its most active buyers.

Chinese UAV sales are showing growth lately from year to year. Cai Hong and Wing Loong attack and reconnaissance drones are readily purchased in Myanmar, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. By the way, the Saudis not only buy ready-made Chinese UAVs, but also manufacture them themselves at a newly built plant. Moreover, the company's products are used not only for internal needs, but also sent to third countries.

High-precision missile systems WS-3A and inertial guidance systems WS-22 are in demand in the Middle East. The DF-12 operational-tactical missile systems are purchased by the Saudis, and the BP-12A OTRK is purchased in Myanmar and Qatar.

There is a contract between China and Pakistan for eight S20-class non-nuclear submarines. Moreover, four of them are to be manufactured in China by 2022, and the rest in Pakistan.

In addition, China sold its submarines to Thailand and Bangladesh. Bangladesh also purchased two 053H3 class frigates. Another frigate Beijing handed over to Sri Lanka free of charge.

The PRC sells training aircraft, fighters, armored vehicles, artillery mounts, anti-tank missile systems and much more.

Thus, China easily and naturally became one of the largest arms suppliers in the world. And if he does not reduce the growth rate, then he may well achieve one of his main goals - "catch up and overtake America."
Photos used:,, Kalabaha1969, SteKrueBe
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  1. tlauicol
    tlauicol 29 September 2020 05: 02
    Africans also buy Chinese corvettes. well, and about engines for our ships and boats, the author was apparently ashamed .. repeat
    1. donavi49
      donavi49 29 September 2020 08: 09
      In addition, China sold its submarines to Thailand and Bangladesh.

      Thais are selling 071 by the way.
  2. apro
    apro 29 September 2020 05: 20
    Who would doubt it, the industrial leader will not be on the sidelines in dividing the military market.
  3. Victor_B
    Victor_B 29 September 2020 05: 24
    China is the world factory of EVERYTHING!
    First, they have a GREAT Chinese PRINTER! Copy EVERYTHING!
    Secondly, they are actively buying / adopting technologies.
    As a result, they are getting closer and closer to leadership in TECHNOLOGY.
  4. rocket757
    rocket757 29 September 2020 06: 55
    China becomes a major arms exporter

    Seriously? Is this news?
  5. nikvic46
    nikvic46 29 September 2020 07: 09
    Chinese exports are getting more expensive, and their citizens need to pay more for their jobs. If in the near future China will become a leader in this area, it will only be due to the internal situation in the States themselves.
    1. Doccor18
      Doccor18 29 September 2020 08: 15
      Chinese exports are getting more expensive, their citizens need to pay more.

      And at whom is it getting cheaper?
      If in the near future China will become a leader in this area, it will only be due to the internal situation in the States themselves.

      In what area? In the field of military exports?
      China will not be the leader in this area for a long time (20 years), in monetary terms.
      Since the United States has more solvent clients around the world. But China can confidently take, seriously and for a long time, the second position in the global arms market in the coming years. The PRC will crush the entire "third world" for itself. For the United States, this will be unpleasant, but far from fatal. There are enough of our regular customers. But for Russian military exports, all this is very bad. The number of regular customers is limited. New ones do not appear, and the old ones are increasingly looking to the side. And sanctions, all kinds of nonproliferation treaties, etc. ...
      1. nikvic46
        nikvic46 29 September 2020 10: 06
        Alexander I completely agree with you.
  6. fif21
    fif21 29 September 2020 07: 11
    Why unexpected !? It was obvious for a long time. hi
  7. Polite Moose
    Polite Moose 29 September 2020 07: 29
    China becomes a major arms exporter

    This is the headline for an article 15 years ago. Today it would be more correct to say: "In the largest"
  8. donavi49
    donavi49 29 September 2020 08: 02
    By the way, Venezuela has new clothes - Kalash for all sorts of militias, and Maduro's guards at the new shooter:
    CS / LS7


    1. Solid Snake
      Solid Snake 29 September 2020 15: 48
      And Chinese products are cheaper, if not for nothing, given China's interest in this region. In terms of weapons, they have a terrible mess there.