CHINA NORTH INDUSTRIESCORPORATION (NORINCO) established in 1973 as China North Industries Corporation; made public in 1979. In September 1988, NORINCO was made one of several organizations under the China North Industries Group Corporation, China North Industries Corporation and answers directly to the Chinese state council, but many analysts contend that it operates under the heavy influence of the PLAs corporate network. Known as Norinco, the firm’s glossy product catalogs boast of the company’s expertise in technology, manufacturing and trade, and its extensive publishing properties. But Norinco's real claim to power and profits is based upon them being the principal arms manufacturer for China and any other potential international clients (a business that makes it a constant target of U.S. intelligence). The company is said to own 82 overseas companies with billions of dollars in annual sales. The most prominent producer in Asia is China. The major small arms production company in China is the state-owned China North Industries Group Corporation (also known as NORINCO). In the 1990s its combined sales of military and civilian products averaged about $2 billion annually. However, weapons account for only 20 to 30 percent of overall production. In July 1999 NORINCO was divided into China South Industries Group Corporation (CSG) and China North Industries Group Corporation (CNGN). It was then when CSG refocused almost entirely on civil production while CNGN became the new weapons producer and began producing most of China’s small arms, apart from some small PLA factories. The study estimates that at its peak the Chinese military inventory probably totaled at least 27 million firearms, probably the biggest in the world.
©2002 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd.

In the early 1980s the Chinese began using the vast Norinco Company as a state owned centralized commercial exporting entity for the purpose of exporting small arms. China North Industries Group, NORINCO (G), has over 300 sub elements including factories (157 medium to large factories), research institutes, and trading companies. It has established over 100 joint ventures and has more than 20 overseas offices and 60 branches. They exported everything from Kalashnikov rifles to Type-59 tanks and artillery which have been emblazoned with the Norinco name. Money from these commercial ventures was funneled back into the PLA.

Prochine (Peoples Rebublic Of CHINa Exports...that is where they get PROCHINE). It was the AK's imported from China before the Norinco's and Polytech's by Sherwood International Imports of Northridge, CA.(Northridge is misspelled ie NORTH RIGDE)









Type 56S-1: This model was identical as the Type 56, except for an underfolding metal buttstock. This buttstock could be folded up or down with a 30 round magazine in place, and the rear of the receiver had an angle cut.


Models Offered:

Type 56S: This is the most common type encountered in today’s market. It comes configured with a full wood buttstock (Manchurian Chu wood).This model is simular to the Chinese Military version only semi automatic (The "S" stands for Sporter). These had a nice deep blue finish, and nice “metal to wood” fit. They came with either underfolding or removable type bayonets. Wood on the early rifles was a flat, almost walnut colored finish. Later production featured the orange shellac that is so often seen today. The wood pistol grips “smooth sided” second (AK-49) or third (AK-53/54) pattern style. Firing pin was flat, and of the inertia type. They sported a hooded fat front sight, a heavy barrel, and a sling loop on the gas block, as well as a bayonet lug. The muzzle of the barrel came with 14x1mm LH threads, and a slant cut compensator.



Type 56S-2: This model is similar to the Type 56, except the stocks are made of a reddish/brown phenolic material and the rear buttstock folds to the right side. The pistol grips were different however, and were shaped very similar to a 1919A4 machine gun. On a side note, this model is most commonly found in Afghanistan, as well as Iraq, but lacks the muzzle threads and slant compensator.


Type 56S-3: This model is essentially the same as the 56-2, except it has a fixed/non folding rear buttstock, made out of the same phenolic material (Note this is an early specimen, later trunions were marked 56s-3)


Type 56-5: This is the odd ball, seldom encountered rifle officially known as the "National Match" Type 56-5 rifle. This model was built to a slightly better standard and so designated by a vertical row of kanji character stamped on the right rear of the milled receiver. The English translation of said row is “Built to Exacting Tolerances.” On a side note, this model was introduced after PolyTech had already come out with their version. Usually factory /26\ marked.

Norinco Links of Interest:

Norinco Legal Documents

Norinco Family Portrait:

Norinco Rare Imports:

Type 88


Type 81

above: barrel marking : IACO Sac CA
above: barrel marking : NORINCO 7.62mm China
This is an excerpt from a late 80's Norinco Factory Catalog. 2 items of interest are listed. An AK74 in 5.45 caliber, and the model 88SB in 7.62x39. Both of these models had the side folding stock, and are very rare, and valuable.