Military budget of China

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The military budget of China in US$ billions.
The military budget of China as a percentage of GNP.

The military budget of China is the portion of the overall budget of China that is allocated for the funding of the military of China. This military budget finances employee salaries and training costs, the maintenance of equipment and facilities, support of new or ongoing operations, and development and procurement of new weapons, equipment, and vehicles. Every March, as part of its annual state budget, China releases a single overall figure for national military expenditures.[1]

In 2014, the Chinese government released its official defense spending at 808.23 billion yuan ($131.57 billion), an increase from the previous year of 12.2%.[2] This makes China's military budget the second largest in the world behind the US.[3]

Unofficial estimates[edit]

Unofficial estimates place the total amount of military spending for China higher than the Chinese government figures, but these calculations tend to differ between organizations.

The last year that many international institutes provided estimates of Chinese military spending in comparable terms was 2003.[citation needed] In terms of the prevailing exchange rate, SIPRI, RAND, the CIA and the DIA estimated the budget to be between US$30–65 billion. In terms of purchasing power parity, or the relative purchasing strength of the expenditure, the SIPRI estimate was as high as US$140 billion.[4] The Chinese government's published budget at that time was less than US$25 billion.

A RAND Corporation study for year 2003 estimated China's defense spending to be higher than the official number but lower than United States Department of Defense calculations. The defense spending of China was estimated, in the mid-range estimate, to be 38 billion dollars or 2.3% of China's GDP in 2003. The official figure was 22.4 billion dollars. Nevertheless, Chinese military spending doubled between 1997 and 2003, nearly reaching the level of the United Kingdom and Japan, and it continued to grow over 10% annually during 2003-2005.[5]

In 2010, the US Department of Defense's annual report to Congress on China's military strength estimated the actual 2009 Chinese military spending at US$150 billion.[6] Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimates that the military spending of the People's Republic of China for 2009 was US$100 billion,[7] higher than the official budget, but lower than the US DoD estimate.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies in a 2011 report argued that if spending trends continue China will achieve military equality with the United States in 15–20 years.[8]

Jane's Defence Forecasts in 2012 estimated that China's defense budget would increase from $119.80 billion to $238.20 billion between 2011 and 2015. This would make it larger than the defense budgets of all other major Asian nations combined. This is still smaller than the estimated United States defense budget of $525.40 billion for 2013. However, United States defense spending is slightly declining.[9]

Comparison with other countries[edit]

Absolute expenditures in USD
Country/Region Official budget (latest) SIPRI (2012)[10] IHS Inc. (2013)[11] IISS (2013)[12]
United States $575 billion [13] $682.5 billion $582.4 billion $600.4 billion
United Kingdom $56.9 billion[14] $60.8 billion $58.9 billion $57 billion
Japan $47 billion[15] $59.3 billion $56.8 billion $51 billion
China $131 billion[3] $166.1 billion $139.2 billion $112.2 billion
Russia $69.3 billion[16] $90.7 billion $68.9 billion $68.2 billion

International reaction[edit]

Amitai Etzioni of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies urges policymakers to avoid jumping to the conclusion that China is a rising "adversary" based on its military budget and economic success.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "China's Xi ramps up military spending in face of worried region". Reuters. 2014-03-04. Retrieved 2014-03-05. 
  3. ^ a b Branigan, Tania. "China targets 7.5% growth and declares war on pollution". Guardian. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  4. ^ pg 26
  5. ^ Modernizing China’s Military Opportunities and Constraints
  6. ^ Office of the Secretary of Defense - Annual Report to Congress: Military Power of the People's Republic of China 2010 (PDF)[1]
  7. ^ The 15 countries with the highest military expenditure in 2009
  8. ^ "East-West military gap rapidly shrinking: report", By Peter Apps, Reuters, Tue Mar 8, 2011
  9. ^ AIRSHOW-Fighters, radar, marine patrols top Asia's military wish-list, Raju Gopalakrishnan, Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:38am EST, Reuters,
  10. ^ "SIPRI Military Expenditure Database". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "Global Defence Budgets Overall to Rise for First Time in Five Years - Four of the five fastest growing defence markets in 2013 were in the Middle East; Russia grabs third place from Japan and the UK". IHS inc. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  12. ^ Marcus, Johnathan. "Military spending: Balance tipping towards China". BBC. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  13. ^ United States Department of Defense, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller),, retrieved May 3rd, 2014.
  14. ^ Porter, Henry. "What budget for defence? First let's work out Britain's place in the world". Guardian. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  15. ^ "Plan for Defense Programs and Budget of Japan Ministry of Defense Overview of FY2014 Budget". Japanese Ministry of Defense. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  16. ^ Kazak, Sergey. "Russia to Up Nuclear Weapons Spending 50% by 2016". RIA Novosti. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Etzioni, Amitai (2011). "China: Making an Adversary". International Politics 48 (6): 647–666. doi:10.1057/ip.2011.27. 

External links[edit]