By Jackie Northam
Southeast Asia is becoming a booming market for U.S. defense companies. Countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand are spending billions to upgrade and expand their defense systems. At the heart of this shopping spree is anxiety over China.
But American defense companies have plenty of competition.
Southeast Asian countries have been steadily building up their defense systems over the past decade — some more than others. But the pace has picked up recently, says Anthony Nelson, with the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.
“The countries are going to spend something like $40 billion this year on defense, which is a substantial increase from where they were just a few years ago,” Nelson says. “We’re expecting them to go up to around $50 billion or so by 2020.” Read more