The Chinese government has launched an official website to help it procure military armaments.
The move reportedly is part of the effort by the Chinese to bring in transparency in arms procurement and break down barriers for private companies wanting to enter the market.
The online procurement website ― www.weain.mil.cn ― is maintained by the General Armament Department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Currently a total of 350 items including wheeled 4G base stations and composite materials are listed on the website.
Any private enterprise, military procurement department, military industry groups and even military personnel can easily register on the website and access relevant information on the country's weapon and armament needs.
It also lists out important policies, procurement notices, enterprise lists and technology. The General Armament department will release procurement details on the first of every January and July.
Qin Zhen, an executive editor with the Beijing-based magazine Ordnance Knowledge, told the Global Times that the site lists out details of only weapons parts and does not include details on any major weapons platforms, such as jet fighters and main tanks, as well as crucial accessories.
"Unlike foreign countries, our private enterprises still lack capacity and experience in major weaponry manufacturing. But they may exceed major military industry groups in less important accessories, including computer chips, and be able to offer the military products with a high performance-price ratio," Qin explained.
The online platform by Chinese government is the first of the many efforts by the secretive PLA to improve its military-civilian relations.
The effort is also expected to accelerate procurement reforms, to break procurement barriers, improve competitiveness and promote efficiency.
"Procurement information used to be confidential. The website can now make the whole procurement process more transparent, which is an opportunity for private enterprises to present their products but also one way to reduce [the effect of] personal influence on weapons procurement," Qin said.