Visitors tour the "China Defence" exhibition area at the Defence Services Asia 2018 (DSA 2018) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 16, 2018. Defense Services Asia 2018, a biennial defense and weaponry show, opened Monday in the Malaysian capital city Kuala Lumpur. (Xinhua/Zhu Wei)
Chinese defense firms are displaying their products for Southeast Asia at the ongoing Defense Services Asia (DSA) 2018, a biennial defense and weaponry show held in Kuala Lumpur from Monday to Wednesday, hoping to expand their exports.
These products include littoral mission ships (LMSs), of which Malaysia has signed a contract with China to acquire four.
China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense organized a delegation comprising of five Chinese defense firms, including China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co., Ltd. (CSOC), which is in charge of building the first two LMSs for Malaysia.
Though its pavilion in the Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Center is not very large compared with some exhibitors, one can find all kinds of models of ships and vessels on display, including China's submarines and its first aircraft carrier the Liaoning.
Both Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Malaysian Navy chief Ahmad Kamarulzaman had visited the pavilion to see the LMS model.
"We are here to promote different types of submarines, with their displacement ranging from 200 tons to 2,600 tons," CSOC deputy general manager Liu Song told Xinhua at the show.
As for surface warships, he highlighted both corvettes, with a displacement from 1,400 tons to 4,000 tons.
Liu also mentioned radar systems, torpedoes, naval mines, bateau bridges used by land forces as well as weaponry systems for individual soldiers.
"Malaysia can serve as a window and can bring some demonstration effect," said Liu, referring to the LMS procurement contract. "We want to make the most of this exhibition to demonstrate to clients in Southeast Asia and hope they can buy more from us."
The LMS contract was reached between China and Malaysia in May last year, when Najib paid a state visit to China. Under the contract, China will help build the first two, while the remaining pair will be built by Malaysian defense firm Boustead Heavy Industries via technology transfer.
Liu said that the building working for the first two LMSs are expected to begin in July. The arrangement of weapons and equipment on an LMS can be adjusted to clients' requirements, said a product description provided by CSOC.
CSOC is not the only Chinese company that has shown optimism. China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) displayed a model of VT4 main battle tank, which was bought in bulk by the Thai military.
"As more and more countries begin to acknowledge the technical strength of Chinese-made weapon system, they will buy more," said Xu Hongyu, a senior manager with NORINCO.
Aside from the tank, NORINCO also showcased the Sky Dragon 50 surface-to-air missile system, multiple launch rocket system AR3 and an anti-ship missile called TL-7B.
Xu said NORINCO has always considered the Southeast Asian market to be one of its most important.
Dubbed as one of the top five defense shows in the world, this year's show has drawn some 1,500 companies from 60 countries and regions, including big names such as Airbus, BAE Systems, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Thales, said the Malaysian Ministry of Defense, the organizer of the defense show.
It is estimated that more than 50,000 professional and public visitors will walk into the exhibition area of 43,000 square meters at the exhibition center during the three days.
Yang Yunli, deputy president of China Aerospace Long-March International Co., Ltd (ALIT), said that currently defense cooperation between China and Southeast Asia is still incommensurate with what the two sides have achieved in economic, political and economic ties, he said, but noting there is a lot of potential.
ALIT showcased its LY-80 air defense missile system, WS-3A precision guided multiple launch rocket system and the renowned CH-4A/4B UAV system.
"As a peace-loving nation, China is willing to export its sophisticated technologies and mature products to friendly counties to help build their modern defense system and safeguard regional and world peace," said Yang.