The world's largest arms-producing and military services companies - called the SIPRI Top 100 - registered sales of arms and military services at Dollars 374.8 billion in 2016. Although the researchers do not consider sales by Chinese companies due to lack of data, they note in the report that China's military spending "has increased nearly threefold between 2002 and 2016", and estimate that nine or 10 Chinese companies likely would be included in the top 100 list-with four to six in the top 20-if the data were publicly available.
After 5 consecutive years of decline, this is the first year of growth in SIPRI Top 100. The figure represents a 38 percent increase from 2002, when SIPRI began recording corporate arms sales.
Lockheed Martin, the world's largest arms producer, increased its arms sales by 10.7% to $40.8bn, driven largely by deliveries of its F-35 fighter jet.
American weapons companies accounted for 58 percent of all weapons sales, taking in $217.2 billion in 2016, a 4 percent increase from the year before. The British companies reported 2 per cent increase in sales of arms while more variations were seen in other major exporters of weapons including France, Italy and Germany.
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Of this, South Korea's arms sector accounted for 2.2 per cent or US$8.4 billion - a 20.6 per cent rise in sales compared with 2015, the report said.
Relatively rich western European companies reported stable arms sales while Russian Federation showed declining growth.
South Korea's arms sales hit record levels a year ago, pushed by the continuous military threat from North Korea, complicated relations with China and a government decision to increase domestic arms production, a Swedish think tank said Monday.
South Korea is turning "to its own arms industry to supply its demand for weapons" and "aiming to realise its goal of becoming a major arms exporter", the institutes's senior researcher, Siemon Wezeman, said in a statement.
SIPRI's "other established producers" category covers companies based in Australia, Israel, Japan, Poland, Singapore and Ukraine. Since 1990, SIPRI has published data on the arms sales and employment of the 100 largest of these arms-producing companies in the SIPRI Yearbook. In the first half of 2018, SIPRI will release its worldwide arms transfers data (details of all worldwide sales, transfers and gifts of major weapons in 2017) as well as its world military expenditure data (comprehensive information on global, regional and national trends in military spending).