When the handloom weavers of Andhra Pradesh faced problems of lack of design and marketing support, an apex society was instituted to address these twin problems. As a result, the Andhra Pradesh State Handloom Weavers' Cooperative Society Ltd. (APSHWCS), popularly called APCO, came into being as an apex society at the state level. It was part of a two tier structure in which the handloom societies of Andhra Pradesh were organised, the second tier being the Primary Handloom Weavers' Cooperative Societies (PHWCS) comprising the primary societies at the village level.
APCO seeks to assist the weavers in their purchase of raw materials and appliances, tools and machinery. It organises exhibitions and sales units for the purchase and receipt of finished products of the member societies. It assists in holding, owning, establishing and hiring processing units to undertake and provide processing services including dyeing, mercerising, printing and furnishing. These services are available for all types of yarn and cloth, and to member societies as well as other institutions and individuals. It arranges for the training of weavers in improved methods of weaving and the latest techniques.