Global arms sales reached $374.8 billion in 2016, the first increase since 2010, according to the latest annual report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). 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. Vietnam was a new entry in the top-10 arms importers accounting for 3 percent of all global sales. The US also accounted for largest share of arms sales (33 percent) followed by Russian Federation 23 percent. While French and Italian firms are selling fewer arms, German and British groups - despite Brexit - increased their turnover.
The rise in sales and the number of USA military services companies ranked in the SIPRI Top 100 are noticeable trends in 2016.
The database, which is based on sales of military goods and services to military customers, doesn't include Chinese companies that are large enough to rank among the top 100 but lack accurate and comparable data.
Total arms sales by Western European companies remained stable at $91.6 billion in 2016.
Apart from weapon manufacturers, the military services companies in the United States enjoyed a considerable rise in their sales.
South Korean arms-producing companies' combined sales totalled $8.4bn the same year with a 20.6% rise in sales compared with 2015, the institute added.
Topping the list was the United States, which continues to maintain the world's largest military expenditures.
"Nonetheless, it's very hard to make a direct connection between large arms purchases and ongoing wars".
Russian firms rose by 3.8 per cent with Dollars 26.6 billion arms sale in 2016.
So who benefits the most from the growing demand?
While consumer purchases are included in the sales figures, national governments are by far the largest purchasers of arms and weapons systems. Russian arms sales continued to rise, but at a slower rate than in the past. 'Continuing and rising threat perceptions drive South Korea's acquisitions of military equipment, and it is increasingly turning to its own arms industry to supply its demand for weapons, ' says Siemon Wezeman. Japan's largest arms companies experienced sharp falls in 2016: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' arms sales decreased by 4.8 per cent, while those of Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation declined by 16.3 and 29.2 per cent respectively.
President Moon Jae-in has stressed the urgency in improving South Korea's ability to defend against the North, which has test-fired three intercontinental ballistic missiles and conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test this year. "At the same time, South Korea is aiming to realize its goal of becoming a major arms exporter".