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.
In 2016, the Chinese government's official defense spending figure was $146 billion, an increase of 11% from the budget of $131 billion in 2014. This makes China's military budget the second largest in the world behind the US. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI, China became the world's third largest exporter of major arms in 2010-14, an increase of 143 per cent from the period 2005-2009. China supplied major arms to 35 states in 2010–14. A significant percentage (just over 68 per cent) of Chinese exports went to three countries: Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. China also exported major arms to 18 African states.
The Chinese government annually announce the budget for the internal security forces and the PLA at the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in early March.
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. 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. 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.
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. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) estimates that the military spending of the People's Republic of China for 2009 was US$100 billion, higher than the official budget, but lower than the US DoD estimate.
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.
|Country/Region||Official budget (2014)||SIPRI (2012)||IHS Inc. (2013)||IISS (2013)|
|United States||$575 billion ||$682.5 billion||$582.4 billion||$600.4 billion|
|China||$131 billion||$166.1 billion||$139.2 billion||$112.2 billion|
|Russia||$69.3 billion||$90.7 billion||$68.9 billion||$68.2 billion|
|United Kingdom||$56.9 billion||$60.8 billion||$58.9 billion||$57 billion|
|Japan||$47 billion||$59.3 billion||$56.8 billion||$51 billion|
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, whereas writer John Zmirak has warned that China is "arming faster than Hitler was arming in the thirties.”
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