This chapter defines international business, and explains the critical importance of emerging markets in today's international business environment. It describes the nature of a multinational company (MNC) and the key forces that drive globalization and the current global economy. The chapter discusses the basic types of economies that make up the world's competitive landscape. It also explains the role that low-cost countries and rapidly emerging economies play in today's world. The financial crisis of 2008 demonstrated just how interconnected the global economy has become in the last few decades. The former systems relied on state-owned organizations and centralized government control to run the economy. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is not the only organization that seeks to eliminate trade barriers. Other organizations based on regional trade agreements, such as the European Union (EU) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), also attempt to reduce tariffs and develop similar technical and economic standards.