China: Military Expenditure, by year
YearMilitary spending,
in billion USD
  • Region: China
  • Time period: 1990 to 2022
  • Published: Jun 2023

Data Analysis and Insights

Updated: Mar 29, 2024 | Published by: Statistico | About Us | Data sources

Overall Increase in Military Spending

China's military spending witnessed a significant overall increase from 30.28 billion USD in 2002 to 291.96 billion USD in 2022, marking a near tenfold growth over two decades. This growth reflects China's expanding defense capabilities and strategic military objectives.

Annual Growth Rate Variation

The year-on-year growth rate of China's military expenditure has varied, with the most notable spike of approximately 16.40% from 2006 to 2007. Conversely, the growth rate from 2021 to 2022 was one of the more modest increases, at about 2.11%, indicating a potential stabilization or shift in budget allocation strategies.

Doubling Period of Military Spending

Military spending in China doubled from 105.52 billion USD in 2010 to 210.44 billion USD in 2017, taking only seven years. This rapid doubling period underscores the acceleration of China's military modernization and expansion efforts within a relatively short timeframe.

Decadal Growth Comparison

Comparing the first and last years of the provided data, China's military expenditure in the 2010s (2012-2022) increased by 146.83 billion USD, a significantly larger absolute growth compared to the previous decade (2002-2011), which saw an increase of 95.01 billion USD. This indicates an accelerating rate of investment in military capabilities in the most recent decade.

Steady Increase with Minor Fluctuations

Despite the overall significant growth, China's military spending has seen minor fluctuations in its annual growth rate, suggesting a carefully calibrated approach to military budget increases that aligns with broader economic policies and objectives. For example, the slight deceleration in growth rate from 2021 to 2022 may reflect strategic financial planning rather than a decrease in military prioritization.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much has China's military spending increased over the last two decades?

China's military spending increased from 30.28 billion USD in 2002 to 291.96 billion USD in 2022, demonstrating a near tenfold growth.

What was the most notable year-on-year growth rate of China's military expenditure?

The most notable spike in China's military spending occurred from 2006 to 2007, with a growth rate of approximately 16.40%.

Terms and Definitions

Military expenditure refers to the financial resources allocated by a national government for its Armed Forces. These include funds for salaries, operations, maintenance, procurement, research and development, support services, military aid, pensions, and infrastructure projects related to defense.

Armed Forces represent the country's military organization authorized to use lethal or deadly force and weapons to support the interests of the state and its citizens. They typically consist of an army, navy, air force, and in certain countries, marines and coast guards.

In the military context, procurement refers to the process of acquiring military equipment, supplies, and services. This can involve purchases from both domestic and international suppliers, and it often involves complicated and costly contracts.

Military aid is assistance, either financial or in kind, offered by one country to another for defense purposes. This aid can be used for a wide range of purposes, including purchase of weapons, training of military personnel, defense-related construction projects, and support for military operations.

In a military context, pensions refer to the retirement benefits that individuals receive after ending their service in the Armed Forces. These are usually based on the individual's salary, rank, and length of service.

Support services in a military context refer to those necessary services that facilitate the proper functioning and efficiency of the military. These can include logistics, medical and healthcare services, transportation, intelligence, communications and IT services, repair, and maintenance.

Operations and Maintenance in the military context refer to the daily running and upkeeping of military equipment, facilities, and infrastructure. This ensures that the military is in a state of readiness to perform its functions at any given time. The expenditure covers costs related to repairs, fuel, training exercises, and other routine activities necessary to maintain operational readiness.
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