Defense R&D Policy in China

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-10-17-28

L. Krasheninnikova, Moscow Lomonosov State University, 1-51, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation (

Acknowledgements. This work has been accomplished with financial support from the Russian Foundation for Humanities, research project  15-37-11136 “The Impact of Technological Factors on the Parameters of National and International Security, Military Conflicts and Strategic Stability”. 

Abstract. The article studies the evolution of major policies in the field of innovative research conducted by the PRC’s military-industrial complex. It examines the Chinese experience in applying measures to enlarge the SciTech infrastructure providing the course of civil-military integration, as well as the depth of its political and military impact on the Asia-Pacific Region’s security. In the article, sectorial analysis of the Chinese military R&Ds is conducted covering issues of decision-making and production for the CPLA’s defense orders, latest research projects, as well as the overall defense R&D spending is assessed. Despite the existing stereotype that the Chinese are keeping a tradition of meeting the country’s defense needs by technically copying other states’ arms and weapons, the estimated volume and features of the Chinese modern military R&Ds evidence a quality shift in at least some of its industries. Developing of this trend is seen by the Chinese authorities as a crucial point, while the major challenge faced by the Chinese military modernization is that of creating an effective and sustainable innovative system so as to stop the dependency on key components’ imports. Another challenge the PRC’s defense industry has to address is the strict centralization of a decision-making process, which may result in the lack of flexibility of the units’ major policies, including personnel. The article states that to date, the Chinese military contractors may still be resorting to use other states’ technological data either via the cyberspace and bypassing the embargo regimes or by acquiring weapons and technologies through official contacts, but the indigenous innovative creativity is underway. The author concludes, that the emphasis being made (on developing missiles, drones and hypersonic technologies) reflects the range of pressing issues of PRC's geostrategic environment in the region. Although the process of military modernization is active and is keeping up with other major spheres’ pace, gaps between sectors of various military industries determine the general unevenness which reflects on the political-military positioning in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Keywords: PRC, military-industrial complex, CPLA, military R&D, strategy, geopolitics 


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For citation:
Krasheninnikova L. Defense R&D Policy in China. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2016, vol. 60, no. 10, pp. 17-28.

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