Difference between a global, transnational, international and multinational company

18 06 2007

We tend to read the following terms and think they refer to any company doing business in another country.

  • Multinational
  • International
  • Transnational
  • Global

Andrew Hines over at BNET has brief and clear definitions of each of these terms, Get your international business terms right.

Each term is distinct and has a specific meaning which define the scope and degree of interaction with their operations outside of their “home” country.

  • International companies are importers and exporters, they have no investment outside of their home country.
  • Multinational companies have investment in other countries, but do not have coordinated product offerings in each country. More focused on adapting their products and service to each individual local market.
  • Global companies have invested and are present in many countries. They market their products through the use of the same coordinated image/brand in all markets. Generally one corporate office that is responsible for global strategy. Emphasis on volume, cost management and efficiency.
  • Transnational companies are much more complex organizations. They have invested in foreign operations, have a central corporate facility but give decision-making, R&D and marketing powers to each individual foreign market.

Andrews’s advice is if in doubt about the right term to use, try the generic term “international business”.

Related Links

Get your international business terms right





98 responses

18 06 2007
Leslie Leite

Thanks for sharing Andrew’s post and helping educate business professionals!

Leslie Leite

14 01 2008

Very good explanation, I have seen some things like this from authors of MIS -James A Obrian, IT for Inernational Trade – Turban and Rainer

20 01 2008
Huong tra

it’s very useful !!! Thanks so much.
Would you recommend me some other materials concerning MNC and TNC

28 02 2008

It was useful I was searching the differences still some more points and examples could have been there and it would have perfect differentiation.
Anyways thank u!!!

16 04 2008

Thank you very much.
– gratefull student

6 06 2008
Farzana hussain

i am student BBA so multinational and global mkt difference very nice point out this defination

24 10 2008

Thanks it was very usefull. I have been trying to understand the difference for the past two weeks

25 10 2008

thx u for this clear summary. I was trying to dissect diagrams of each term, but had difficulty making sense of them. Have a great day!

15 11 2008

thank you! i have been trying to find the right terms in my marketing paper! keep up the good work!

24 11 2008

thanks for this useful information

24 11 2008

thanks for this useful information thanks once again

28 11 2008



4 01 2009
Up Early On a Sunday Morning - International or Multinational? — SmallBusinessStreet.com

[…] describing my company as being ‘international’ or ‘multinational’ – found a good blog post that describes them accurately I think… days is already off to a good […]

1 02 2009

thank you! It’s a useful information

30 03 2009
Tom C

Thanks for this, useful for my MBA exam revision. Do you have a well known example of each please, particularly multinational & transnational?

6 04 2009
Asif Rahman

Very good information indeed. However, could you please help me out with the name of some in each category?

5 07 2009

what are the attributes of a transnational company?

8 07 2009

Please will you confirm me the difference between “Multinational company and International Franchise” i will be very thankful.

9 07 2009
Eliud Nkunja Imaana

Thanks (Ahsante sana). Please give some examples


21 10 2009
Sadik Al Hossain Jinnette

im not completely clear by above explanation.There should have some example as well.

4 11 2009

good used of technology. bundle of thanks from my side.

19 11 2009
uzma shereen

please i want to more information about Global & International Marketing with example.

24 12 2009
Riaz Ullah khan

i m not satisfy from this defintion please explain

9 02 2010

ii Niwega muno. Thank yu buddy for clearing the confussion.

22 02 2010
2/22/10 « Lesley's Comm 430 Blog

[…] 2/22/10 By lesley2010 Snow day…home researching/writing Google China paper and beginning readings in my Global Indigenous Media test (W&S).  One of the difficulties I have is keeping the various forms of media and businesses separate in my head.  So on the first day of class I looked up and wrote down the definitions for indigenous media, multinational media, transnational media, and international media.  I refer back to my definitions often and they really help me understand what I am studying.  Today I came across this blog which also defines global companies.  It will be useful to me as I move forward with my understanding of global indigenous media.  Here’s the link: https://leeiwan.wordpress.com/2007/06/18/difference-between-a-global-transnational-international-and-… […]

10 03 2010

thank you sir, that is really nice and simple explanation than i ever seen in the books.

11 03 2010
pawan kumar

thanks u sir it is the basic concept that a management student should know

26 03 2010

Thanks for your clear explanation………………..

28 03 2010
Jaspar F. Mmbaga

Thank you so much Sir for such pleasant presentation. Real i appreciate your academic evidence.

15 04 2010
sobia saeed

it is very helpful for us because we had been in confusion regarding these concepts

22 04 2010
5 05 2010
izhar ullah

thnx;this our assigment and a am confusing by search many site but know clear about MNC and TNC.thanks

5 05 2010
izhar ullah

i am student MCOM

16 05 2010
sudhir kumar

verry nice presentation. a lot of thanks.

1 06 2010
Multinational & Transnational Corporations « Ms. Levin’s Social Studies 10

[…]  These are complex terms that even people in the business world get confused!  A blog post here does a great job at summarizing the difference between all the terms used to talk about […]

17 06 2010

information is too good, give the examles for each

26 08 2010
Abebe Berhe

Thanks, simple and clear difference

26 08 2010
Alauddin - Bangladesh

Very much thanks for your clear & simple explanation.

I want to more information about Global & International Marketing with example.
Please help me. This is my curacy for achieving the knowledge.

I am CA qualified i.e. as same as ACCA

28 09 2010

I wasn’t able to look through all of your comments, but I was curious as to the source for your definitions. I’m currently studying Fatehi, Bartlett, and Goshal. Just looking to follow the source of information. Thanks.

6 10 2010
Hassan Hussain

Thanks for the definition

10 10 2010

hi, Lee
I am a college student from China. Now I am serching the difference between Global business and International business. But I can’t get a satisfying answer. Could you please give me an answer about that? thanks

11 10 2010
Lee Iwan


In my definition:

Global – related to the entire world
International – between 2 or more countries

In the strictest sense a global business would be one with relationships in all countries or continents while an international business would be one that does business in one or more countries.


29 10 2010

owsum communicability…. nice post
it was never simple before reading this.. thanks millions

31 10 2010
abdul rahman sahir 03317099809

thanku i m mba studnt inf r so use ful

25 12 2010
zahid hussain

The useful information is here, But need to explain deeply.

1 01 2011
adil khan

thank you so much to define easily

25 01 2011

Thank you very much.Please give example for each.

9 02 2011
Neil Mukherjee

Thank you, Lee!

16 02 2011
Md.Golam Mowla

If an “MOU” sign between Banglavision Inc, USA & Divine Holdings Ltd in Bangladesh for doing business in IT sector. If the business deal covers many countries, so is it Multinational or Global. or may I think It is International business.

21 02 2011

thanks….. itsvery useful….

27 02 2011

Hi Lee,

Please could you give example for each , so that i could have a better understanding of each term .
Thank you

8 04 2011

explanation is very surface…can you support with real example of organization .that will be a better explanation

16 04 2011
Md. Hakiz John Noory Romel

It was one of the simplest definition that I have ever seen. Thanks a lot to U ,sir………..

17 05 2011
Difference between a global, transnational, international and multinational company (via Lee Iwan Accumulated Experience) | The World From My Eyes

[…] We tend to read the following terms and think they refer to any company doing business in another country. Multinational International Transnational Global Andrew Hines over at BNET has brief and clear definitions of each of these terms, Get your international business terms right. Each term is distinct and has a specific meaning which define the scope and degree of interaction with their operations outside of their "home" country. International … Read More […]

10 08 2011

thank you very much, comprehensive definitions,

22 09 2011
Muhammad Tayyab Ejaz

I was having a confusion between the term Multinational and internation. This information is realy help ful.

24 09 2011

really very helpful for the students having their specialization in international business

24 10 2011
Munna Kumar

hi sir my name is Munna Kumar. I am the student of business management from Bangalore i want to know about the history of international business.

26 10 2011
sania khan

thanks for this helpful material… plz would you add some examples and explanination..

23 11 2011

Thanks a lot to Lee and Andrew for these concise definitions. I’m from Perú.

27 11 2011
Khine Thinzar Cho

really helpful

1 12 2011

Multinational companies as mentioned at the top have a base corporation or factory! in their home country and some other branches in other countries which all the decisions make at the base company and other branches of the same company just obey the orders for example if we say Toyota is a multinational company then it has its base in Japan and in other countries such as Malaysia or India products just assembles with the given plan to them from Japan.
Transnational is like multinational but all other branches of company have the right to decision making like coca cola or McDonald which in some Arabian countries to eat pork is forbidden and branches of McDonald remove burgers with pork from their menu or make some changes in integrates of them or we can say in some countries like turkey people prefer drinks with less sugar or in Dubai peoples cuisine is more sugar in drinks, so here branches make some changes in their products too keep their customers all around the world.

7 12 2011
Udoka Raph

I reall love this, and i want to say a big big thank you and i apprecaite. Keep it up.

10 12 2011

differences given was really göod, but dnt u think its bit short.

20 12 2011
Md. Sarwar Iqbal

Nice but little bit short to understand. Topics terminology is more or less critical. What ever its not bad.

1 03 2012
Get Global - Carrot Blog

[…] international, transnational, or multinational company? They’re easy to confuse, but knowing the difference between them and knowing where your company falls will set the tone for all business decisions you […]

6 03 2012
muninder singh

my self is muninder and i am a student of instritute of company secretaries of india . i want to know about the difference between international strategy and transnational strategy,,

21 03 2012

thanx.u r full of integrity.

26 03 2012

thanks a lot Mr Lee!

7 04 2012
Juneid Ahmad SIddiqui

Thank you Mr. Lee, Now my concept is clear, it is very useful for me.

13 04 2012

I’m not an English native speaker. It’s hard for me to understand the difference between international, transnational and multinational. Your post is really helpful. Thanks a billion.
I have one advice for you: explain them a little bit more by giving some examples. I think good examples can be Gucci, Volkswagen and Virgin Group.

10 05 2012
Evelyn Lee

Hello, can I receive few answer from you? Thanks for your kindness.

1. Why international more difficult than domestic HRM? How is the different PEST in different country took affect?
2. under what condition company choose PCN, HCN, TCN? What is the type of recruit and selection, training and development, reward. Explain each base on 3type, how performance management carry in?

14 05 2012

very good and clear explanation, i’m aware of the definitions because of my elective subject “Corporate Governance” held during my MBA degree.

Enrico Massei
Associate of Australian Migration & Legal Status Advice

19 06 2012
Rakib - Bangladesh

Thank you,i am also very grateful

20 06 2012

what is the 3 difference between multinational and trans multinational, overall both organization is same having footprint in other countries.

11 07 2012

Hey, firstly I appreciate your definition as given above but I would tend to think that there needs some clarity on the issue, because to me those look like strategies of doing international business if you look at it critically. I think it would have been more useful if you give the outreach and mode of operation. For example I am from Kenya and we have some companies e.g East Africa Breweries ltd, Nakumatt, Equity Bank etc, which operate within the East African region and qualify to be termed as MNC’S since according to the definition they do operate in more than one country. Would it therefore be right to say a MNC operates in more than one CONTINENT??? In the same breadth is there or are there companies referred to as REGIONAL companies which operate in a specific geographical area to be more precise just operating in one continent.
My other concern is should a MNC have a production firm/plant in another country to be termed as a MNC. And if this is the case would a partnership in more than one country be termed as a MNC???

27 08 2012

With example it could have been better to understand…..

29 08 2012

Thank you so much for sharing this information with us. Very helpful.

13 04 2013
shafa zara

thank you so much sir.. but could you please identify 2 brands who are involved in each of the retailing type in Pakistan…

6 05 2013
javon davis

My question is: wouldn’t a transnational and a multinational company pretty much be the same? They both have investments in other countries and adapt their marketing, product design and cost to the targeting country. Please explain this.

Javon Davis

12 06 2013



1 09 2013

it is very useful explanation sir. thank you.

14 01 2014
mahendra shrestha

thanks 4 de clear concept…!!

15 07 2014
7 08 2014

Hi ! can you plz give me the examples of global and international communications plz :)

24 01 2015
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25 01 2015
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18 09 2015

Sir, The definitions of multinational company, global company and transnational company given by you are very much useful to me, a MBA student. I shall be thankful if you could kindly give me further features of multinational, global and transnational company with suitable examples.
Thanking you.

8 12 2015
Vijay Guru

Am an MBA student. I had a little bit confusion with those topics. After readout it got a clarity… Thanks

31 05 2016
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[…] Difference between a global, transnational, international … – Jun 18, 2007  · Difference between a global, transnational, international … transnational, international and multinational company … is a multinational company … […]

4 06 2016
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[…] Difference between a global, transnational, international … – Jun 18, 2007  · … difference-between-a-global-transnational-international … transnational, international and … Difference Between Brand Management And … […]

11 07 2016
Muhammad Waqas

what is the difference between transnational and international

9 08 2016
Clement Hayibor

Why are Multinational companies describe as Global Company??
Help me to know these thanks

14 09 2016
What Is The Defintion Of Global Interaction | Information

[…] Difference between a global, transnational, international … – Jun 18, 2007  · We tend to read the following terms and think they refer to any company doing business in another country. Multinational International Transnational Global … […]

21 10 2016
sk dariyav

than q u sir regarding above information

2 11 2016
pallavi. v

Nice. Easy to understand

12 04 2017
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[…] SAP SE company. SAP is specialized in providing IT-related services and solutions to big companies, multinational or international companies or industrial […]

21 04 2017

very Useful explanation. Thank you

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