Shandong's port city of Yantai plays host to the second Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) forum on small and medium-sized enterprises from Thursday.
The one-week meeting in the northeastern city is co-sponsored by the Apec group and the State Economic and Trade Commission.
It aims to foster economic and technical collaboration of small and medium-sized companies in the region to help them to be competitive while boosting the region's economic development. Such co-operation is important in the wake of Asia's financial crisis, which has ravaged most of the region's economies and has seen smaller enterprises among those hit hardest by the turmoil.
To the fore at the meeting will be trade and industry ministers from the 18-member Apec group.
Russia, Vietnam and Peru - Apec members in waiting - are also expected to join the forum, aiming for stronger co-operation in the region's trade and investment, according to the organising committee for Apec's second forum on small and medium-sized companies.
Shandong and Yantai government authorities will also be helping out in organising the forum.
The first Apec forum on small and medium-sized companies was held in Tokyo in September 1996.