An achilles heel of Chinese shipbuilding

I wrote before about how the world's shipbuilding industry appears to be concentrated in approximately even shares in PR China, South Korea and Japan, leaving little shipbuilding in Europe and almost none in North America:


The simplistic calls for American arms racing at sea are thus facing a terrible industrial base.


Now I'd like to add information that adds much to this, also reducing the alarm level:

The Chinese produce almost no marine diesel engines.

Ships are driven typically by one of two engine types; big marine diesel engines or gas turbines. Gas turbines are relevant almost exclusively to fast warships. It's possible to build warships with COGOG propulsion (combined gas and gas) using two cruise gas turbines and two sprint gas turbines, but gas turbines are less efficient for cruise than marine diesels.

I looked at the freely available information about the marine engine industry (not the expensive reports) and found that the main producers of marine diesel engines appear to be:

  • GE Transportation (US)
  • Caterpillar (US)
  • Cummins Inc. (US)
  • Rolls-Royce Power Systems (Germany)
  • MAN Energy Solutions (Germany)
  • Wärtsilä (Finland)
  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group (Japan)
  • Brunswick (US)
  • Volvo Penta (Sweden)
  • YANMAR (Japan)
  • Scania AB (Sweden)
  • Deere & Company (US)
  • Deutz AG (Germany)
  • Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (South Korea)
  • STX Engine (Hong Kong)

  • example list sourced from https://www.marketresearchfuture.com/reports/marine-engine-market-1988

    Some sources don't even mention STX Engine as a top company. STX Engine appears to have about 900 employees only and a turnover of almost 500 million $ (2023) in a global market of about 17 billion $.

    So the PR China's shipbuilding industry is a bit like Russia's arms industry; largely dependent on Western parts. This does not bode so well for Chinese arms racing any more, because welding together sheets of steel to form a hull is not as challenging as the production of those giant marine diesels.

    Then again, arms racing at sea could be done with China using STX Engine's (expanding) capacity and domestic gas turbines. They do produce some gas turbines domestically, but again, their capacity is not that great.

    And then I found crap like this that awfully reminded me of how intellectually unarmed and strategically illiterate German politicians are.

    edit: It was brought to my attention that foreign companies have joint-venture factories in PRC. So the real question may be whether the PRC could keep those running (short and medium term) if the Western companies become obliged to try to pull the plug.

    S O




    1. I doubt German politicians are stupid, but they might play stupid. There was traditionally a split between continentalists and transatlanticists in German industry and policy. These continentalists now support China and Germany is hedging her bets, who comes out on top in the new Cold War and looming WWIII. Any alliance must take an amount of treason into consideration.

    2. Every "joint venture" in China implies that the majority state is Chinese. End of BS story about how they don't have some technological capabilities.

    3. The American tax payer will be delighted if Europe pays for its own defense. The USA should withdraw from NATO, pull all troops, munitions, logistics stocks, and pre-positioning ships from Europe. Of course, we should also reposition our reconnaissance satellites that support NATO as well.


    4. Europe DOES pay for its own defence.

      The sorry display of the Russian armed forces shows how overpowered European NATO actually is, despite it having terrible spending efficiency.

      But that's partially a fault of the Americans, who spend the 00's pushing the Europeans to neglect conventional warfare in favour of providing auxiliary troops for stupid American small wars.

      You should learn about satellite orbits. Your remark about satellite positions is utter nonsense.

    5. 1. Europe most certainly does not pay for its own defense and can point to no area where it exceeds the USA from strategic weapons to ISR. There is no NATO defense without the USA. If Europe had the forces, the logistics, the C4ISR... you would have told the USA to go home at the end of the cold war.

      2. Are Europeans so weak that they cannot make decisions for themselves?

      3. You should review what you *think* that you know about the satellite capabilities of the USA - the NRO alone has more capability than all EU and NATO countries combined, and much of that intelligence is shared with NATO. Arguably, Elon Musk has provided more space-based capabilities to Ukraine than all of European members of NATO. In fact space-X launched Germany's SARah 1 satellite. We do not have to share; Germany is welcome to provide 100% of C4ISR capabilities to the alliance to settle the issue.

      4. The constant whining and bitching about USA is not only annoying, it is childish.

      5. Almost as bad as #4 above is the tendency of leftist to try and tar every contrary figure or argument as “fascist” in a weak-minded attempt to avoid actual discourse. This ignores the sad truth that the worst authoritarians and mass murderers in recent history are Marxists (Mao, Stalin, Pol pot, Saddam Hussein, Bashar al-Assad…). Germans might want to look to your own elections - https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/germanys-far-right-makes-strong-gains-eu-vote-despite-scandals-2024-06-09/

      Yippe ki yay!


    6. 1. European NATO vastly outspent Russia+Belarus on military and outnumbered their troops 2:1 before mobilisation.
      Germany has its own spy satellites and there are plenty commercial spy satellite capabilities in the West. Europe's ability to defend against RUS+BEL does not in any way depend on having as many space assets as the U.S..
      European logistics are fine for European defence, save for munitions stocks.

      2. Irrelevant. Americans have no moral high ground to complain about Europeans not being geared for conventional warfare after American governments selfishly asked for expeditionary priorities for such a long time.

      3. You don't understand what you don't understand. Spy satellites have orbits. You cannot reposition them to avoid being useful to Europe.

      4. You came here for doing the constant whining and bitching about European defence efforts. Stop fantasizing that someone else whines and bitches.

      5. I don't give a shit about who else is scum when I call out scum. You're trying the whataboutism bullshit rhetoric trick and it doesn't work here.
      The AfD are incompetent, delusional idiots who couldn't solve any problem even if they were in power because they live in fantasyland and are Putin's bitches.

    7. If the US wanted Europe to take care of their own business they shouldn’t have gotten involved in WWI in the first place.

      Ameri-Boomers shouting at the sky like GAB don’t seem to be able to understand that the current situation of Europes dependency on the US was produced by American foreign policy deliberately and is very much in the interest of American imperialism.