When the Type 59 main battle tank was being developed it became apparent that because of high weight of the tank it would have difficulties operating in areas of southern China. These areas mostly consist of mountain ranges, hills, rice paddy fields, lakes and multiple rivers which many times are without a bridge or with bridges which couldn't withstand the weight of the Type 59 tank. Therefore, in the late 1950s the PLA Ground Force submitted requirements for a light tank which could be successfully deployed in the areas of southern China. The development of the Type 62 light tank began at Factory 674 (Harbin First Machinery Building Group Ltd) in 1958. Construction of the first Type 62 light tank prototype, Type 59-16, began in 1960 and ended in 1962. The tank officially entered production and service with the PLA in 1963.
Based on experience gathered during the Sino-Vietnamese War an update for Type 62 was designed, consisting 33 different improvements and was designated Type 62-I.
After an unsuccessful attempt at fitting the Type 62 light tank with the turret from the Type 63A amphibious light tank a new turret was designed and fitted on the Type 62. This new variant was designated Type 62G.