With so many copycats in third world markets, Kalashnikov counts on developing demand for the real thing. Photo: Reuters
With so many copycats in third world markets, Kalashnikov counts on developing demand for the real thing. Photo: Reuters

The Russian arms conglomerate “Kalashnikov” has partnered with distributors in Malaysia and Thailand as part of the group expansion into the Asia-Pacific region. According to the parent company Rostec, these two agreements are the largest since the foundation of the group two years ago. Kalashnikov executives are hopeful that the expansion into Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America will help neutralise the the negative impact of the US imposed sanctions.

Kalashnikov Concern (Izhmash) has been supplying a whole range of its firearms to the US, both for sports and hunting. Targeted by US sectoral sanctions over events in Ukraine, Americans have been ordered to discontinue any deals with the Russian gun maker due to economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the US.

Contracting with the countries of Asia-Pacific will help position the group overcome sanctions and aligning with the globalization of world markets

The US remains the world’s largest consumer of civilian arms, which is why most of the civilian guns sold by the Kalashnikov Group abroad have been sold in America. Kalashnikov products became popular and sales have exceeded a million firearms a year.

Cheap, reliable and accurate, Russian shotguns have become a serious rival to similar guns available on the US arms market. However, in international markets they are facing fierce competition, primarily by local retailers offering copies of the Kalashnikov assault rifles. The rifles have been widely used in Africa, Latin America and in Asia, primarily in countries loyal to the former Soviet Union. As many such arms were delivered to terror groups and insurgents, they are widely used by criminal elements but not as much with government forces, which are now making the primary target for the company’s expansion.

“Expansion in the Asia-Pacific region, Africa and Latin America as part of a new strategy for the group. Part of these markets were closed to Russian arms suppliers due to the predominance of US products.” company officials said. With the introduction of arms intended for use by civilian and law enforcement authorities, the situation has changed, allowing to start expanding the presence of Izhevsk arms in the region.

In recent years, the increase in exports of civilian products Concern is on the rise, which corresponds to the general tendency to strengthen Russia’s position in the global arms market. This year Concern “Kalashnikov” continues to actively explore new, promising markets for themselves.

“Contracting with the countries of the Asia-Pacific region will help position the group, overcoming sanctions and aligning with the globalization of world markets” said General Director of Concern” Kalashnikov “Alexei Krivoruchko.

Founded in 1807 as NGO “Izhmash”, the group changed its name, the “Kalashnikov” group is Russia’s largest producer of automatic weapons and sniper rifles. The concern also produces guided artillery projectiles, as well as a wide range of civil products – shotguns, sporting rifles, machines and tools. As the largest state-owned Russian infantry arms producer, the group also exports its products to 27 countries, including the US, UK, Germany, Norway, Italy, Canada, Kazakhstan and Thailand.

The AK and its variants remain the most widely used and popular assault rifle in the world, because of their durability, low production cost, availability and ease of use. Image: Defendingrussia.ru
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