Difference Between Internationalization and Globalization

Difference Between Internationalization and Globalization

There is a relationship between internationalization and globalization. The two have some overlaps in their respective definitions. However, when comparing the entire scope of their definitions and the context in which these terms are used, the two have notable disinclinations and are not mutually exclusive. The former is often used in business while the latter is a broader concept with wider and deeper social implications. This article outlines and discusses the difference between internationalization and globalization.

Understanding the Difference Between Internationalization and Globalization


Internationalization is the process of designing and developing products or systems in a manner that makes them adaptable, appealing, and accessible to various international markets and diverse cultural contexts. This involves efforts to make a particular product or system either not culturally specific by tailoring it to specific regions without losing its core qualities or acceptable to a broader target market irrespective of cultural differences.

The concept of localization almost always tags along the concept of internationalization. It is specifically a process of adapting a product or system to a specific regional market or segment of the geographical market to meet its language, political and legal, cultural, preferential, and other market-specific requirements. However, in some instances, certain products and systems need few localization efforts for it to become marketable in the international market.

Globalization is a broader concept. It is specifically considered a societal concept that represents the interconnectedness and interdependence of countries, economies, cultures, and societies on a global scale. There are different views about its origin. The modern phenomenon view asserts that it is a product of modern internationalization while the historical evolution view argues that this phenomenon is nothing new and has always been part of human history.

Usage Context

Nevertheless, based on the definitions above, internationalization is used in the business setting and within the context of the strategic direction of a business organization. It represents an attempt of a company to make its product or system acceptable to markets outside its country of operations. Globalization is used to describe all processes and phenomena that result in the global interaction and integration of various actors and social elements. Understanding further the difference between internationalization and globalization, especially the scope of their definitions and the context of their usage, requires taking a look at some examples.


There are several examples of internationalization. These include the market entry strategies of companies such as IKEA and Starbucks that involve global distribution channels or the human resource diversification of other companies such as TSMC and Nvidia aimed at attracting global talents. Other examples are the global supply chain strategies of Amazon and Apple or the diversified product strategy and global marketing strategy of Samsung.

Examples of globalization include foreign policies aimed at power balancing or other intergovernmental treaties or international agreements centered on strengthening cooperation among state or national. The creation and operation of the United Nations, the European Union, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization represent more specific examples of the globalization of governance through geopolitics, political geography, and international relations.

The participation of different countries in international trade and the greater global company is an example of economic globalization that has resulted in greater economic integration among various economies and markets. The global expansion of the influence of various non-state actors is also an example. More specific examples include the importation of Western music and the participation of different countries in international sporting events.

Reiterating the Difference Between Internationalization and Globalization

The difference between internationalization and globalization is straightforward. The former is a business strategy that aims to make products or systems suitable for the international market. The latter is a broader trend characterized by the integration and interconnectedness of countries and cultures on a global scale. They might have different definitions but they still have some overlaps. Take note that internationalization is a strategy often employed within the context of globalization to tap into the opportunities presented by a globalized world.