Norinco's VT1A MBT was first revealed in the October 2009 issue of "Ordnance Knowledge", a Norinco owned monthly magazine -- The VT1A MBT is a scaled down Type98/99 MBT built for export and similar to rest of the Type98/99 series of MBT, it's driver seat is located at the center of the hull and forward of the turret.
The Type99 MBT has been in PLA service approaching its 10th year and until now it has not been offered for export for number of reason: some of the potential customers might not have the necessary infrastructure to support or able to afford the high price associated with a 57 ton beast. In the past, Norinco has focused its sales effort with the Type96 and while it scored some success but in light of all the T-72 and T-54 upgrade packages that flooded the market in recent years, the Type96 might no longer be competitive in the international market place.
To reduce the total cost of ownership and combat weight to more manageable of 49 tons, the VT1A is not packaged with the 2nd generation ERA, active defense protection systems, D-3 infra-red jammer nor the much discussed a laser-dazzler device that are normally found on the Type 99. However, it can still perform the "rotation with pivot" in the center of the body by moving tracks from both sides in opposite directions. This capability allows The Type 99 to rotate 180 degrees in narrate streets making it a lethal adversary in MOUT. (Military Operations on Urban Terrain)
For more detail on the Type99/98 see
The New Chinese Type 98 MBT: A Second Look Reveals More Details
The Chinese Type 98 Main Battle Tank: A New Beast from the East
Full Weight: 49 Tons
Turret root Height: 2.4 m
Width with track shield: 3.5m
Crew: 3 with auto-loader.
Power: 1200 hp
Engine: Water-cooled turbocharged diesel
Power-weight ratio: 24 hp / ton
Max speed: Highway speed 69 km/hour
Range: 450 km
Main Armament: 125 mm smoothbore