The Chinese Navy is expected to procure 30 more submarines by 2020 and bring the total from the current 62 to 100 by 2030, Hong Kong's Ming Pao daily reported on Tuesday.
According to the paper, the U.S. has 75 subs, 26 of them deployed in the Asia-Pacific region. China is building up its Navy, including retrofitting its first aircraft carrier.
Bloomberg News quoted experts as predicting that Asia-Pacific nations will have up to 86 more subs by 2020.
Beijing is not revealing the cost of the subs, but Macau-based military affairs analyst Huang Dong estimates it at US$200 million per sub or $6 billion for 30.
"The Pentagon and its allies will focus spending on devices able to spot subs even in the noisiest shipping lanes as China's naval build-up heightens tensions with neighboring nations and underscores the need to secure commercial shipping flows," Bloomberg said.
Vietnam plans to buy six subs from Russia, and Indonesia is negotiating with Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering to buy three subs for W1.2 trillion (US$1=W1,146).