China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO)
Type Public
Industry engineering, contracting, automobiles, firearms
Founded 1980
Headquarters Beijing, China
Area served Worldwide
Revenue decreaseRMB 103,740,000 (Jan-08)[1]
Operating income decreaseRMB -2,520,000 (Jan-08)[1]
Net income decreaseRMB -4,640,000 (Jan-08)[1]
Total assets decreaseRMB 1,123,700,000 (Jan-08)[2]
Employees 456,000[3]

The China North Industries Corporation (Chinese: 北方工业 or 北方工業; pinyin: Běifāng Gōngyè; literally "North Industries"), official English name Norinco, manufactures vehicles (trucks, cars and motorcycles), machinery, optical-electronic products, oil field equipment, chemicals, light industrial products, explosives and blast materials, civil and military firearms and ammunition, etc. Norinco is also involved in domestic civil construction projects.

Norinco is also known outside of China for its high-tech defense products, some of which are adaptations of Soviet equipment. Norinco produces precision strike systems, amphibious assault weapons and equipment, long-range suppression weapon systems, anti-aircraft & anti-missile systems, information & night vision products, high-effect destruction systems,[4] fuel air bombs, anti-terrorism & anti-riot equipment and small arms.



Norinco was established in 1980 with the approval of the State Council of China, and is overseen by the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND). According to the congressional testimony of Gary Milhollin of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control in 1997, Norinco subsidiaries in the U.S. include: Beta Chemical, Beta First, Beta Lighting, Beta Unitex, China Sports (California), Forte Lighting, Larin, NIC International (New Jersey).[5] [6]

Controversies in the United States

Importations of most Norinco firearms and ammunition into the United States were blocked during the Clinton Administration in 1993 under new trade rules when China's Most Favored Nation status was renewed. Concerns about their use by criminals in inner cities was the main reason put forward for the prohibition. The prohibition did not apply to sporting shotguns or shotgun ammunition however.

In 1994, some employees of Norinco came under federal investigation from both the FBI as well as the ATF after a successful sting dubbed "Operation Dragon Fire." In May 1996, in what was called "the largest seizure of fully operational automatic weapons in U.S. history,"[7] 14 individuals and an Atlanta, Georgia company were indicted for the unlicensed importation and sale of 2,000 Type 56's into the United States. U.S. Customs agents posing as arms traffickers convinced a group of Chinese arms dealers, including three Norinco representatives, that they were in the market to buy guns for drug rings and street gangs.[8] "The defendants offered the government undercover agents more sophisticated weapons, including hand-held rocket launchers, mortars, anti-aircraft missiles, silenced machine guns and even tanks," said Wayne Yamashita of the U.S. Customs Service.[9] The Customs Service discovered during the investigation that these weapons were bound for Oakland, California street gangs.[10] According to an affidavit signed by two of the undercover agents involved in the investigation, representatives from Norinco offered to sell urban gangs shoulder-held missile launchers capable of downing a large commercial airliner.

In August 2003, the Bush Administration imposed sanctions on Norinco for allegedly selling missile-related goods to Iran.[10] While not formally joining the multinational effort to restrict the proliferation of missiles, China did promise in 2000, not to assist in any way the development by other countries of MTCR-class missile technology. Neither the Chinese government nor Norinco has denied doing business with Iranian companies, although they did deny that it was for missile related purposes at the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group, Iran's key manufacturer of ballistic and non ballistic missiles.[11] Norinco has called the sanctions "groundless and unjustified" and "entirely unreasonable."[12]

These sanctions led to a prohibition on imports into the US of the remaining types of firearms and ammunition not covered by the 1993 ban.

Controversies in Pakistan

In April, 2011 Norinco announced it had been awarded a megaproject to develop a mass transit system in the provincial headquarters of the Punjab province in Pakistan. Although the deal led to severe criticism from civil society, the project is currently underway and being financed though expensive loans from the Export-Import Bank of China.[13]

In June 2011, Norinco sent a letter of demands to the Government of the Punjab which threatened to derail the Mass Transit System and expose the true intentions of the company in Pakistan. According to the latest reports, the Government of Punjab is not willing to engage Norinco for the task due to the extortionist demands being made.[14]

2011 meetings with the Gadhafi Regime

Documents obtained in late August 2011 by the Libyan rebels in Tripoli describe meetings between Muammar Gaddafi's security officials and Norinco officials in Beijing. The meetings discussed arms sales worth $200 million (USD) with an interest in shipping them through Algeria and South Africa. These meetings were held in late July as the Gaddafi regime was crumbling, and the arms sales were in direct violation of UN sanctions against the regime and UN measures to protect civilians.[15] On September 5, the Chinese Foreign Ministry released a statement admitting the meetings had occurred, but the ministry denied that Chinese government officials knew about the talks or that arms had been sold. [16]

Some examples of megaprojects and weapons manufactured by Norinco

  • Line 4, Tehran Metro
  • QSZ-92, pistol
  • Type 54, a clone of the Soviet TT-33 Pistol
    • Model M-201C a civilian version of the Type 54 also chambered in 9x19mm with the addition of a manual safety like FEG Tokagypt 58
    • Model 213, a civilian version of the Type 54 also chambered in 9x19mm with the addition of a manual safety like FEG Tokagypt 58
    • NP-17, Model M-201C in Two-Tone
  • NZ-75, a clone of the CZ 75 pistol
    • NZ-85B, a clone of the CZ 85 pistol
    • NP-40, a clone of the CZ 85 pistol in .40S&W
  • NP-22, (rename by importer NP226 or NC226) a Sig-Sauer P226 pistol first version clone
    • NP-34, (rename by importer NP228 or NC228) a clone of the Sig-Sauer P228 pistol
    • NP-56 45ACP, Sig-Sauer P220 Rail pistol Clone in .45ACP
    • NP-58, Sig-Sauer P226 Rail pistol Clone in .40 S&W
  • M-1911A1, Government Model with Mil-spec (USGI) clone of the Colt M1911A1 pistol (blue version)
    • M-1911A1-P, Government Model version with Mil-spec (USGI) clone of the Colt M1911A1 with the Phosphat finishing
    • M-1911A1-TT, Two-Tone version of M-1911A1
    • 1911A1-Sport-B, Sport verion of M-1911A1 with Three dot sighting system,Extended slide release, Front slide serrations, Ambidextrous safety, Raised anti glare rib on slide, Large beavertail grip safety, Lite weight competition hammer, Lightened target trigger, Full length guide rod, The finish is non-reflective satin blue and Extended mag release.
    • 1911A1-Sport-TT, Two-Tone version of 1911A1-Sport-B
    • M-1911A1C, Combat Commander style pistol
    • NP-30, Tactical verion version of Colt M1911A1 pistol clone with double column magazines, beavertail grip safety, extended slide release, flat mainspring housing, and extended ambdextrous safety.
    • NP-29, Colt M1911A1 clone in 9mmx19mm.
    • NP-28, Colt M1911A1 Clone in 9mm para High Cap
    • NP44, Colt M1911A1 Clone High Cap magazine
    • M1911A1 C, Colt M1911A1 Clone in .38 special
  • M93, Colt Woodsman Clone in .22LR
  • NP-18, clone of the FEG P9R
  • M14S or M305, a clone of the M1A, a civilian version of the M14 rifle
  • CQ, a clone of the Colt M-16A1
  • Type 56 Carbine, a clone of the Russian SKS battle rifle
  • Type 56, a clone of the Russian AK-47
    • MAK-90, a civilian, semi-automatic version of the AK-47[17]
    • NHM-90, 1994-2004 gun ban model, w/1.5mm stamped receiver, thumbhole stock, no bayonet lug, non-flashhider
  • Type 86S bullpup assault rifle
  • Type 87 (also known as QLZ87) 35 mm automatic grenade launcher (AGL)
  • Type 88 sniper rifle
  • QBZ-95, an assault rifle
    Norinco-designed QBZ-95 rifle.
  • QBB 95, a squad automatic weapon version of the QBZ-95
  • NDM-86, a version of the Dragunov Sniper Rifle that fires .308 Win. ammo or traditional 7.62x54R depending on model
  • Norinco YL-1887L lever-action shotgun (reproduced the Winchester Model 1887/1901 model)
  • Norinco YL-1897 A copy of the Winchester model 1897 pump shotgun
  • Norinco HP9-1, also known as the Norinco 982, a clone of the Remington 870, a pump-action shotgun
  • Norinco JW-103/JW-105, bolt action hunting rifles
  • 23-2K, a version of the Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 cannon
  • Norinco Type 63 Light Amphibious Tank
  • Type 99 MBT
  • WZ-523 Wheeled APC
  • Type 69 RPG anti-armor rocket launcher, a clone of the RPG-7
  • Type 98 anti-tank rocket 120 mm anti-tank rocket system
  • ZM-87, a portable laser disturber

See also


External links


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