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Hard sell: China faces military export challenge

China's defence exports reached a 10-year high in 2022, climbing to USD3.24 billion, according to Janes data. The data also show China's increased reliance on Pakistan for export orders. (Janes Markets Forecast)

Janes analysis of global defence trade reveals that China's defence exports climbed to a 10-year high in 2022.

According to the newly compiled data, the value of China's international military sales and sustainment activity reached USD3.24 billion in 2022, up nearly 2% on 2021's figure of USD3.19 billion. However, the data also show that China's share of the global defence market could fall significantly over the coming decade.

This decline is aligned with increasing risks and challenges for China in global markets. Chief among these include the growing number of reports of faulty Chinese defence export products and China's growing export dependency on Pakistan, by far its largest customer. The data show that the value of China's defence exports will fall by 12% in 2023.

According to the data, in 2013 the value of China's defence exports was USD1.80 billion. Since 2013 and 2022 the value of export sales fluctuated but achieved a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 4%. The total value of Chinese defence exports during 2013–22 was USD25.3 billion.

The data show that China's most prominent defence export customers during 2013–22 were developing markets in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Pakistan accounted for 45% of the value of China's defence exports during this 10-year period. This defence export alliance – founded on both countries' desire to contain India – grew to a high in 2022, with deliveries of Chinese equipment rising to a value of more than USD2 billion.

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