Main Content

What Is Globalization?

Technology, Business, and Culture Meet

Globalization is more than a technical process. While there is a strong technical component, successful globalization involves changing the way an organization does business. As long as international markets are treated as a secondary concern and a place to save on costs, globalization efforts will not be truly successful. In particular, globalization is not a process that starts after a product has been designed. If global concerns and plans for after-market support are not made even before product development begins, costs will go up and quality problems will emerge.

Globalization can best be thought of as a cycle rather than a single process, as shown below: 

In this view, the two primary technical processes that comprise globalization—internationalization and localization—are seen as part of a global whole:

  • Internationalization encompasses the planning and preparation stages for a product in which it is built by design to support global markets. This process means that all cultural assumptions are removed and any country- or language-specific concent is stored externally to the product so that it can be easily adapted. Learn more about internationalization…
  • Localization refers to the actual adaptation of the product for a specific market. It includes translation, adaptation of graphics, adoption of local currencies, use of proper forms for dates, addresses, and phone numbers, and many other details, including physical structures of products in some cases. If these details were not anticipated in the internationalization phase, they must be fixed during localization, adding time and expense to the project. In extreme cases, products that were not internationalized may not even be localizable. Learn more about localization…

Even beyond these processes, globalization encompasses global and local marketing, local after-market support, the establishment of local business presence, and many other aspects of global business. To learn more about globalization, download The Globalization Industry Primer today.