© 2015

Assessing China's Naval Power

Technological Innovation, Economic Constraints, and Strategic Implications

  • Demonstrates a practical methodological approach for analyzing naval developments in China and anywhere in the world

  • In-depth assessments of China's domestic and foreign policy concerns

  • Drawing on personal work experience in the naval shipbuilding industry

  • Makes the domestic Chinese discourse accessible to the Western reader by analyzing various Chinese-language sources


Part of the Global Power Shift book series (GLOBAL)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Sarah Kirchberger
    Pages 1-20
  3. Sarah Kirchberger
    Pages 21-56
  4. Sarah Kirchberger
    Pages 171-254
  5. Sarah Kirchberger
    Pages 255-311
  6. Sarah Kirchberger
    Pages 313-318

About this book


This book analyzes the rise of China’s naval power and its possible strategic consequences from a wide variety of perspectives – technological, economic, and geostrategic – while employing a historical-comparative approach throughout. Since naval development requires huge financial resources and mostly takes place within the context of transnational industrial partnerships, this study also consciously adopts an industry perspective. The systemic problems involved in warship production and the associated material, financial, technological, and political requirements currently remain overlooked aspects in the case of China.
Drawing on first-hand working experience in the naval shipbuilding industry, the author provides transparent criteria for the evaluation of different naval technologies’ strategic value, which other researchers can draw upon as a basis for further research in such diverse fields as International Security Studies, Naval Warfare Studies, Chinese Studies, and International Relations.


Asia Pacific Security Complex China's Fleet Development China's Naval Power Naval Power Shift Shipbuilding Industry Transnational Industrial Partnership

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chinese Language and CultureAsia-Africa-Institute, University of HamburgHamburgGermany

About the authors

Sarah Kirchberger is an Assistant Professor of Contemporary China Studies at the Asia-Africa-Institute (AAI), University of Hamburg. A former analyst with shipbuilder Blohm + Voss, she holds an MA and a PhD in Sinology. Her publications include a book on informal politics in China and Taiwan and various articles and book chapters on China’s political system, political history, domestic politics, foreign policy, and naval modernization.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking


“It is a powerful contribution to the debate on the military capacity of China and a precious source of information for all scholars and analysts dealing with security issues in Asia. This book bears a great value as a realistic global assessment of PLAN’s current naval capability, based on an impressively comprehensive analytical framework. Ultimately, the author succeeds in her endeavour to provide convincing arguments for diminishing the fear of PLAN, the ‘monster’ we are afraid of.” (Raymond Yamamoto, Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs, Vol. 4 (1), 2017)