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China is flexing its growing military and strategic clout in the pursuit of broadening national security interests. At the same time, the country’s economic and technology policies have also become more nationalistic, state-centered, and ambitious. China’s defense economy has set its sights on catching up with the West by the beginning of the 2020s and is making steady progress in building up its innovation capabilities, although this is presently in the form of incremental and sustaining types of activities. More high-end, disruptive forms of innovation that would lead to major breakthroughs are likely to be beyond China’s reach in the near-to medium term.
This volume provides a wide-ranging and detailed assessment of the present state of the Chinese defense economy at a time of rapid change and accelerating advancement in its innovation capabilities and performance. This collection of articles has three main goals: (1) to locate China’s defense innovation dynamics within broader historical, technological and methodological frameworks of analysis; (2) to assess the performance of the Chinese defense economy’s six principal subsectors; and (3) to compare China’s approach to defense industrialization with major counterparts in the Asia-Pacific region.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Strategic Studies.
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Tai Ming Cheung is the director of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC). He directs the Minerva Initiative program on Chinese security and technology, a multi-year academic research and training project funded by the U.S. Defense Department to explore China’s technological potential. His most recent book, Fortifying China: The Struggle to Build a Modern Defense Economy, was published in 2009 by Cornell University Press.
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