Digital economy plays an important role in enhancing MSME access to the global market and driving innovation. However, it remains challenging for MSMEs to embrace the digital economy. In 1996, the Information Technology Agreement was endorsed by the APEC leaders which were later adopted by World Trade Organization. In 2014, APEC leaders endorsed the APEC initiative of Cooperation to Promote the Internet Economy to further promote cooperation in the digital economy and proposed actions plan to bridge the digital gap. Also in 2014, “Welcome China to explore the possibility of setting up an "APEC SME Center for IT Promotion" was endorsed during the 21st APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting.
In response to the leaders’ and Minister’s instruction, guided by Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China, implemented by Internet Society of China, China plans to setup the Center as an economic cooperation and IT exchange platform which is open to all APEC members accomplishing tasks such as sharing the best practice, MSME IT-related training, IT consulting service, etc. China welcomes APEC economies to recommend related organizations to participate in the project.