China becomes the world’s third largest arms exporter

March, 16: China has become the world’s third largest exporter of arms after the US and Russia, according to a new report.

China overtook Germany, France and the UK in exporting weapons between 2010 and 2014, said the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

China now accounts for about 5% of the world’s exports of arms.

Three Asian countries, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, accounted for more than two-thirds of those exports.

The world’s second largest economy also had 18 African nations as clients during the five year period, according to the study, which said the data reflected the volume of arms deliveries and not the financial value of the deals.

The 10 largest exporters of major weapons

Country Share of global exports 2010-14
Source: SIPRI
US 31%
Russia 27%
China 5%
Germany 5%
France 5%
UK 4%
Spain 3%
Italy 3%
Ukraine 3%
Israel 2%

China exports jump

China’s exports of major arms rose by 143% in the five years to 2014 from the previous five years.

Meanwhile, Germany’s arms exports fell by 43%, while France’s dropped 27% in the same time frame.

Overall, that compares to a 16% increase in the volume of arms transferred around the world.

However, despite China’s big jump in the global rankings, there is still a sizeable gap between the volume of its exports and those of the top two exporters the US and Russia.

The US accounted for 31% of the world’s weapons exports, while Russia sold 27%. Exports from those two countries rose 23% and 37% respectively in the time period.

SIPRI compares arms sales over five year periods because of large fluctuations in the volumes of arms traded year on year.