It started in 2004 as a competition for so called developing countries who were taking part at the Vision Asia program, Syria won the tournament in that inaugural year.
The competition has evolved with the years with many new countries featuring since 2009, they came from the AFC Champions League(Iraq, Syria, Thailand, Vietnam) and there were ore countries who joined the competition through the AFC President`s Cup, Myanmar being the 1st one followed by Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Palestine.
Yangon United were the 1st team from a country who played at AFC President`s Cup that qualified for the Roundof 16 of the AFC Cup in 2014. they have become a dominant force in Myanmar in the recent years battling against Yadanarbon and Kanbawza, making a name in the Asian scene and flying proudly the Myanmar flag.
Kuwait has become most successful team in the competition with their clubs winning the last 3 years in a row, 2 times from Kuwait SC and 1 from Al Qadsia.
Jordan become successful in the first years the competition withy Al Faisaly claiming the trophy in 2005 and 2006 and with Shabab Al Ordun winning in 2007, in that year of 2007 it was the 1st time who featured an all Jordanian final where Shabab Al Ordun won to Al Faisaly.
Arbil from Iraq won the tournament in 2009 and in the next year it was a Syrian team who won again the tournament, it was Al Ittihad of Aleppo in an historic campaign and playing the final at home soil.
West Asia has been the dominant force in the competiton while Southeast Asian teams haven`t been lucky of not to reaching the final match.
Southeast Asian teams and Hong Kong who are the only representative from East Asia in the competition have struggled to succedd at AFC Cup, the most far they have reached are the semifinals, its more difficult for them to reach the final because at semifinals stage they always play against very experienced and strong teams from West Asia, mostly from countries like Kuwait and Iraq.
The initial years were marked by the dominance of team from Hong Kong and Singapore and in 2005 surprisingly New Radiant reached the semifinals becoming the 1st Maldivian club to reach that stage, they were near to reach the same stage in 2013 but they were eliminated by future champions Kuwait SC.
2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011 were the only years that Southeast Asian teams reached the semifinals.
Teams from Thailand and India started playing from 2007 onwards.
Teams from Vietnam and Indonesia started playing from 2009 onwards.
South China, Persipura Jayapura, New Radiant, Kitchee, Dempo, East Bengal, Chonburi, Muangthong United, Binh Duong, Sun Hei are some of the teams that have reached as far as the semifinal stage.