China's parade by the numbers

China showcases military power

China is one of the world's top defense spenders so it's no surprise that Thursday's grand military parade will be showcasing the best and shiniest the nation has to offer.

The world's second largest economy boasts the largest military budget after the United States. Last year, China's spending accounted for 12 percent of global military expenditure last year, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Forecasts on Wednesday showed Beijing's defense spending could grow 7 percent annually to $260 billion by 2020, nearly double 2010's defense spend of $134 billion, according to IHS. The estimate came ahead of President Xi Jinping's announcement on Thursday that he would cut 300,000 troops, or 13 percent, from China's 2.3 million-strong army.

Reuters reported that Xi gave no timeframe for the cuts, noting that China has cut troop numbers three times since the 1980s as China modernizes its defense force. This year, China's defense budget is $190 billion, up from $176 billion in 2014.

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While it's unclear just how much Xi's administration spent on Thursday's parade, below are a few statistics that indicate where some of that cash has been invested.

This is China's 15th military parade since the People's Republic of China (PRC) was founded in 1949.

More than 12,000 military personnel will participate, plus around 1,000 troops from 17 countries.

30 national leaders will be attending, including accused war criminal Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Egypt's Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and South Korea's Park Geun-hye.

49 countries will have presence at Tiananmen's Gate of Heavenly Peace to watch the parade.

The parade will have 50 formations, including 11 troop formations, 27 equipment formations, 10 aircraft formations and 2 mobile formations carrying WWII veterans.

The PLA will showcase more than 500 pieces of its latest equipment, 84 percent of which has never been viewed by the public.

They include:

  • Nearly 200 advanced aircrafts.
  • 7 types of missiles, including the much-hyped DF-21D anti-ship ballistic missile, known as the "carrier killer" for its advanced real-time satellite imagery and target-locating ability to shoot down aircraft carriers, and the DF-26 missile capable of reaching a U.S. military base in Guam. Both can be armed with either explosives or nuclear warheads.
  • The latest version of the J-15 carrier-based fighter jet and Z-19 attack helicopters.
  • A 9.1 kilometer colored vapor trail, the world's longest, made by J-10 fighter jets
  • The world's largest group of helicopters.

Meanwhile, minutes after the parade, China's garment factories advertised copies of the red dress worn by First Lady Peng Liyuan at the event on sales site Taobao. The key number: $156.