The market for Chinese submarines seem to be on the rise even as the overall world demand for subs has witnessed a downward trend.
The news today that Thailand has selected a Chinese manufacturer to build submarines beating bids from Russian, Swedish, German and French manufacturers, if true, is an indication of the maturity of the Chinese submarine industry.
China has in the past sold submarines overseas before but they were direct orders from Bangladesh and Pakistan. But this is the first time that it has been selected in an open competition.
The news, though not an official confirmation from the Thai government or Navy has suggested that the Chinese bid may have been selected due to its unusually low price of US$ 335 million for each submarine.
Bangladesh has finalized a deal to purchase Two-Ming-class submarines for $203 million in February 2014. The type 035G diesel-electric run submarines are scheduled to be delivered in 2019.
Pakistan has approved buying of eight submarines from China for US $5 billion in April this year. The submarine deal likely involved is a Type 039-class diesel-electric vessel equipped with an advanced air-independent propulsion system, which would allow the warship to stay and operate underwater much longer.
The Royal Thai Navy had received offers from Russia, Sweden and France. China's Yuan-class (Type 041) submarine had been pitted against Russian Kilo-class Project 636 diesel electric submarine, Swedish Saab AB A-26 class submarines and South Korea's U209 model were part of the competition.