China stripped Russia to grab the second spot only after the United States, in Stockholm International Peace Research Institute's (SIPRI's) list of world's largest arms producers.
SIPRI had excluded Chinese defense companies so far because the information on the country's weapons manufacturing had been "unreliable" and "lacked transparency." The report was released on January 27.
The Swedish research center compiled "credible data" from 2015–17 on the value of arms sales by four major Chinese arms companies- Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO), China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) and China South Industries Group Corporation (CSGC).
The four companies in the same order account for $20.1 billion, $17.2 billion, $12.2 billion and $4.6 billion in sales, totalling $54.1 billion. This will place the firms among the top 20 armaments producers in the world, putting China ahead of Russia in arms sales, behind only the US.
"In 2017, of the 20 largest companies in the SIPRI Top 100, 11 were based in the USA, 6 in Western Europe and 3 in Russia. If the four Chinese arms companies investigated in the study were included in the Top 100, they would all rank among the top 20, with combined estimated arms sales totalling $54.1 billion. Three of the companies would be ranked in the top 10," the SIPRI statement read.
"The largest of the Chinese companies is AVIC which with arms sales totalling $20.1 billion would rank sixth largest in the world. China NORINCO, which would place eighth in the Top 100 with sales of $17.2 billion, is in fact the world’s largest producer of land systems," the statement read.
The survey excludes China from its list of arms sales by country, but indicates that the US has 57.9% of the international arms market, followed by the United Kingdom with 9.6% and Russia with 7.1%.