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The Chinese Giant
by James Dunnigan
November 8, 2014

China is now the fourth largest exporter of weapons in the world. This is largely due to the efforts of China's largest arms manufacturer, NORINCO (Northern Industries Company). Founded in 1980 NORINCO is the major supplier of weapons to the Chinese armed forces and one of the largest arms exporters in in the world. By 2003 NORINCO had sales of $10 billion a year and now that is over $62 billion a year. Despite the dominance of NORINCO, there are hundreds of smaller arms and military/police equipment manufacturers who find lots of customers in China and abroad. But NORINCO, partly because of its size and mass production capability and partly because of its government connections, gets most of the big ticket or large volume business.

NORINCO has frequently been caught, and sanctioned for weapons and other military equipment to countries banned from receiving the stuff by international sanctions. These sanctions make it difficult to purchase high tech manufacturing equipment (and other essential goods) from the West. Despite that NORINCO still has a well-deserved of selling to anyone, anywhere who can pay and is not in trouble with the Chinese government.

NORINCO produces smart bombs and missiles, armored and non-armored military vehicles, amphibious vehicles, artillery and long range rockets, anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, naval weapons and equipment, fire control systems, night vision equipment, military and commercial explosives, all manner of bombs and ammunition, police gear and a wide range of military grade small arms and well as hunting rifles. NORINCO stuff is designed and built to be easy to use, resistant to bad treatment and lack of maintenance. The Chinese stuff is also cheap. All this is often an offer many countries cannot refuse, especially since NORINCO is tolerant of requests for bribes.

 


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