The report noted that the five companies listed may not account for all the Chinese entities that ought to be listed in the top 100, as CCP regulations often limit what information is made public regarding such things.
“The industry giants were largely shielded by sustained government demand for military goods and services,” said Alexandra Marksteiner, a researcher at SIPRI.
“In much of the world, military spending grew and some governments even accelerated payments to the arms industry in order to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.”
American companies accounted for roughly 54 percent of all arms sales among the top 100 companies, amounting to some $285 billion across 41 entities. The largest arms seller on the list was Lockheed Martin, with $58.2 billion in arms sales in 2020.
The collective sales of those companies on the list that were based outside of China, Europe, Russia, and the United States was $43.1 billion, or roughly 8.1 percent of the total.
The SIPRI report found that new technologies, particularly space-based systems, were driving up sales in both the United States and China, and were likely behind a trend of high-profile mergers and acquisitions in the United States.
“This trend is particularly pronounced in the space sector,” Marksteiner said. “Northrop Grumman and KBR are among several companies to have acquired high-value firms specialized in space technology in recent years.”
“In recent years, Chinese arms companies have benefited from the country’s military modernization programs and focus on military-civil fusion,” said Nan Tian, a senior researcher at SIPRI.
“They have become some of the most advanced military technology producers in the world.”