According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), China’s arms exports in the period 2017-2021 fell by nearly a third compared with the previous five years (2012-2016).
Specifically, China accounted for only 4.6% of total global arms sales, compared with 6.4% in the period 2012 – 2016.
Meanwhile, the United States accounted for nearly 40% of the global arms market from 2017 to 2021, up 14% from 2012 to 2016.
According to Richard A. Bitzinger, an independent international security analyst, China has never exceeded a third of the global arms market, and it has never reached double-digits in terms of percentage of the total worldwide overseas arms sales.
From 2017 to 2021, U.S. arms exports were 108% higher than Russia’s and 34% higher than during 2012 – 2016. Currently, the US exports eight times more weapons than China.
Buyers of US military products are very diverse. Between 2017 and 2021, the United States sold weapons to 103 countries, more than any other supplier.
In contrast, China’s regime relies on only a handful of customers. From 2017 to 2021, China sold weapons to 48 countries. Among them, four countries, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Myanmar account for nearly 70% of China’s total arms exports. In fact, Pakistan accounts for about half (47%) of China’s overseas arms sales.
The decline in Beijing’s arms exports is because many countries in Africa and Asia are no longer interested in weapons made in China. Algeria, Sudan, and Indonesia were once major customers of China’s regime, but now these countries have significantly reduced their imports of Chinese weapons.
Bitzinger said that quality and production capacity are the factors that make China’s regime’s weapons products uncompetitive in the market.