Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 05/2014

China's Defense Electronics Industry: Innovation, Adaptation, and Espionage

James Mulvenon, Matthew Luce

September 2010

Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, University of California


Contrary to popular perceptions of China as either “technology thief” or “technology superpower,” the success of the Chinese defense electronics sector can be attributed to a combination of indigenous innovation, adaptation of foreign technology, and large-scale technology espionage. Advanced defense electronics components and systems play a key role in this revolution in military capability, making it imperative to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the Chinese defense electronics industry and their implications for U.S. interests in the region.