Rise of the dragon: China arms exports shoot up 143% in five years

March 21, 2015 10:21 AM

China has overtaken Germany to become the world's third-biggest arms exporter, although its 5% of the market remains small compared to the combined 58% of exports from the US and Russia, a new study says. 

China's share of the global arms market rose 143% during the years from 2010-2014, a period during which the total volume of global arms transfers rose by 16% over the previous five years, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, said in a report released on Monday, March 16. 

Its share of the world market was up from 3% in the 2009-2014 period, when China was ranked ninth among exporters of warplanes, ships, side arms and other weaponry, said the institute. 

The data show the growing strength of China's domestic arms industry, now producing fourth-generation fighter jets, navy frigates and a wide-range of relatively cheap, simple and reliable smaller weapons used in conflicts around the globe. 

China had long been a major importer of weapons, mainly from Russia and Ukraine, but its soaring economy and the copying of foreign technology has largely reversed the trend, except for the most cutting-edge designs and sophisticated parts such as aircraft engines. 

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