- The PLA Navy was founded in 1949, with two fleets made up of 20 poorly equipped vessels. Four years later, China purchased four advanced ships from the Soviet Union. Over the next two decades, they became the PLA Navy's most powerful surface ships.
- The 1970s saw the PLA Navy move away from importing and imitating other countries' ships to designing and producing vessels on its own. China has developed three generations of home-produced surface ships since then.
- Since 2005, the PLA Navy has entered an era of rapid expansion. It is now well armed with hundreds of class-three or higher combat vessels.
- The PLA Navy now encompasses the East China Sea, North China Sea and South China Sea fleets.