China’s growing defense capabilities vs US top military firms a Thucydides Trap?


China has many, large military and defense firms like China South Industries Group Corporation, China Aviation Industry Corporation, and China North Industries Group Corporation, to name a few.

Growing fast, Chinese defense manufacturing industry has seven companies exceeding $5 billion in revenue (2016).

In the last ten years, revenues for one exceptional Chinese defense firm, China Aviation Industry Corporation (China’s second leading defense manufacturer), have grown 93%, from $31 billion (2007) to $59.7 billion in (2017), according to the 2018 fiscal year Industrial Capabilities report outlining the United State’s position in global defense markets, among other findings, and presented to the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate and the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives.

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As China’s posture in regional and worldwide military capability continues to grow, some foreign policy professionals feel the greater global community could be approaching a Thucydides Trap.

Chinese imports, exports

China exported $2.41 trillion worth of goods and services in 2017 according to the report, with top exports comprised of broadcasting equipment, computers, office machine parts, integrated circuits, and telephones. The United States, Hong Kong, Japan, Germany, and South Korea make up the majority of China’s export destinations.

China’s top imports include integrated circuits, crude petroleum, iron ore, cars, and gold. Primary importers of these products from China are the United States, Japan, Germany, and South Korea.

Top US military defense primes per procurement budget spend
More military supply chain articles

Meanwhile, China has a concerted effort in place with its strategic plan —Made in China 2025 —to be the world leader in manufacturing and technology. Below, China’s military might compared to other, leading military and defense companies worldwide.

Top 23 Defense companies per arms sales in US$ billions (calendar year 2016)

Starting in 2019, the 2018 annual industrial capabilities report provides US Congress with updates related to the implementation and execution of the industrial base risk mitigation strategies and follow-on efforts for assessing and strengthening the manufacturing and defense industrial base and supply chain resiliency of the United States, relative to Executive Order 13806.

Worldwide military and defense contract electronics providers

Today there are 1000s of contract electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers among the many, other contractors and (sub-contractors to defense primes) also serving US armed forces. Search contract EMS providers serving ITAR compliant military/defense sector here.

Read about military defense and aerospace lead-free risks here. Read about military REACH compliance here. For information about writing military and defense requests-for-proposals (RFP) to minimize risk of rejection, go here.

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