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China is forecast to spend $260 billion on its annual defense budget by the end of the decade, according to a study published on Wednesday ahead of a spectacular military parade this week in Beijing.
Home-grown battle tanks, gunships, fighter jets and ballistic missiles, along with more than 12,000 troops, will process through the symbolic Tiananmen Square on Thursday.
The parade will be the first to celebrate the surrender of Japan following its occupation of China during World War II and is seen bringing the country to a standstill, with flights cancelled, manufacturing halted and financial markets shut until Friday. Countries such as Mongolia and Russia are also sending troops to participate.
And according to a report on Wednesday from information provider IHS, Beijing's defense spending is estimated to grow 7 percent annually until 2020. In that year, the country is seen spending $260 billion, almost double 2010's defense spend of $134 billion.
"By 2020, the center of gravity of the global defense spending landscape is expected to have continued its gradual shift away from the developed economies of Western Europe and North America and towards emerging markets, particularly in Asia," Craig Caffrey, principal analyst at IHS Jane's Defense Budgets, said in a news release.
"In terms of overall growth in each region between 2015 and 2020, Asia Pacific is expected to solidify its role as the key driver of growth in the defense sector."
This year, China's defense budget was $190 billion, accounting for around 11 percent of global defense spending and up from $176 billion in 2014.
U.S. defense spending in 2014 was far higher, at $587 billion, according to IHS. However, with China and other big players in the region like Japan, India and South Korea increasingly important in the defense market, Asia-Pacific's overall spending is seen trumping the U.S. by 2020.
"China continues to require military aerospace assistance from Russia and its total defense procurement budget will continue to rise very quickly," Paul Burton, director of defense industry and budgets at IHS Jane's, said in the news release.
The rise in Chinese spending comes at a time when global defense expenditure is flatlining, not least because of the fiscal constraints among oil-producing countries in the Middle East and North Africa. U.S. spending has also been curtailed by the reduction in troops on the ground in Afghanistan and ongoing budget cuts.
Russian spending, meanwhile, is seen peaking this year, at $62.6 billion. Russia has been engaged in military intervention in Ukraine – action that triggered sanctions from the West last year.
"The economic repercussions of Moscow's actions in Ukraine, combined with a precipitous fall in the price of oil over the course of 2014, look set to derail spending plans for 2016 and 2017," said IHS. Russia is a major oil exporter and its economy has been hit hard by the fall in oil prices and sanctions.
The importance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in spending terms is also seen falling and by 2019 the group which includes the U.S., U.K. and France will no longer account for the majority of worldwide military expenditure, IHS said.
—By CNBC's Katy Barnato with contribution from Nyshka Chandran.