China Now Third Largest Arms Exporter

By Thomas Guglielmo,
International Business Writer

The Stockholm International Peace Research Instituter recently discovered that the amount of exports of arms from China had increased 143 percent from 2010 to 2014, making China the world’s third largest arms exporter.

Russia and the United States remain as the top two largest arms exporters, and China is taking advantage of the fact that these two countries do not have great relations with other nations. A report from Reuters says, “Chinese-made equipment has found eager buyers among countries at odds with the United States and its allies.”

After China built up its internal security with UK weapons, the percent of weapons imports from 2010 to 2014 dropped 42 percent. China then sold more than 68 percent of weapons produced in China to Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.

The Chinese culture is one that does not welcome foreign trade. For this reason, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) invites foreign companies to do business in China, gives the companies unreasonable terms of business, learns about the technologies, and when the companies leave because they cannot create revenue, the CCP creates their own brand. China practiced this when Google attempted to enter the Chinese market.  Google was not allowed to provide the full service they offer, so they had to leave the country due to the unfair business terms. China then created a similar version of Google called Taobao.

This is important to keep in mind when reviewing China’s arms trade over the past years because China seems to be doing a similar practice of importing new technologies and then exporting similar Chinese-made items. Another concern regarding China’s large import of weapons is the relationship China holds with Taiwan and whether or not the Chinese government would use force to keep Taiwan from becoming a democracy.  China bought 14,000 rounds of tear gas priced at $13.8 million from Chemring group between the years 2011 to 2014.  This is a concern that prompted many critics to call for the UK to end all arms sales to China. Over the same time period the United States had an increase on exports of arms by 23 percent. China’s rapid growth is something notable and critics are concerned what the future holds for Chinese citizens and surrounding nations. However alarming this rapid growth in arms production, sales, imports, and exports may be, Chinese-made weaponry is not powerful enough to alarm foreign countries.  Critics claim that Chinese made weaponry is not the same quality as United States or Russian quality weapons.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 24th print edition.

Contact Thomas at

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