Today, roughly 30 countries are classified as "emerging markets" by the World Bank. Investor interest in these markets has grown substantially over time. During the first half of the 1990s, privatization and economic liberalization that took place across emerging market countries substantially enlarged the set of emerging market securities available to foreign investors and thereby provided a strong and decisive impulse for portfolio investments in emerging markets. The purpose of this technical note is to describe some key characteristics of emerging capital markets and compare them with those of developed and less-developed or frontier markets. This technical note is the first of three notes on emerging markets. See also UVA-F-1454 and UVA-F-1455.