It's almost bound to happen in some form.So, could the 96B still enter service? when you say northern district, you are refering to the crews, right?
96s are the core of Chinese armoured strength: they won't go anywhere. If anything, existing stock already needs an upgrade.
Furthermore, older tanks in service still number in 4 digits; replacing them with with 99As or ZTQ-15s may be a tough choice.