Cultural differences have emerged as a popular subject in the world of business management during the past two decades or so. Companies and nations have been strongly affected by a combination of expanded international trade and increased economic regionalization – witness NAFTA, the Southern Common Market, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the European Union, communist countries’ transition to capitalism after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and China’s and India’s rise in power. Foreign direct investment has increased, and national and international mergers and acquisitions have multiplied in many sectors, including pharmaceuticals, financial services, automobile manufacture and steel production. Strategic alliances have also expanded, such as those between automobile companies (e.g. Renault–Nissan) and the airline networks, while privatization of large publicly-owned enterprises has created giant international corporations.