New Report Explores How China Legally Accesses Foreign Technologies to Build Military Capabilities

Graphic of Chinese flag and naval vessels

CNA's China and Indo-Pacific Security Affairs Division provides senior leaders across the US government with timely, high-quality political-military insights to assist them in making informed decisions as they formulate plans and policies for this critical region of the world. As China’s global presence has increased, it is necessary to examine the economic dimensions of China’s activity and its potential implications for US national security interests. CNA is helping US leaders and officials understand China’s economic statecraft in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. Our expanding domains of analysis include international economic engagement, foreign direct investment, technology acquisition, and assessing PRC state-owned and private investments globally, including within the United States.

China has successfully obtained foreign defense technologies using a range of legal economic tools. Obtaining these technologies advances China’s national security goals, and undermines the security and commercial interests of the United States and its allies. CNA analysts examine these methods and their implications in a new report, breaking China’s methods into "the four Bs" of how the PRC obtains foreign technology:

  • Buy it (through legal arms purchase)
  • Bargain for it (via market access rules)
  • Bet on it (by investing overseas)
  • Boost human capital to access technology (through academic and professional exchange programs)

Experts icon Experts

Jeff Becker, Research Program Director
Benjamin DeThomas, Research Analyst
Alison Kaufman, Principal Research Scientist
Maryanne Kivlehan-Wise, Research Program Director
April Herlevi, Research Scientist
Rose Tenyotkin, Associate Research Analyst
Satu Limaye, Special Advisor

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