What do South Africa, Lithuania, Mexico and China have in common?
Not much, really. Yet all four are lumped into an economic category known as emerging markets - one that casts its net so wide that its relevance is being questioned.
"This concept of an emerging or a developing market is mainly a political tag or just a name for non-rich economies," said Dawie Roodt, an economist with PLJ Financial Services in South Africa.
"It's really everybody except the rich economies so it's really not saying anything, it's far too big."
The term's worth as a concept is not simply academic.
It is used as a guide by fund managers and others who channel tens of billions of pounds into economies - and out of them again, sometimes at the press of a button.
Nor has much thought been given to the criteria that would signal an economy had emerged from its stifling cocoon and sprouted the wings of a developed one.
Making it out of this grouping would signal that a country was a less risky place for investment. This in turn could translate into increased capital inflows and reduced borrowing costs.
To date, no economy seems to have made the grade, suggesting that perhaps it is time to establish some goal posts - though the pick of the crop are often singled out.
So, what is an emerging market? At its broadest, it refers to basically every country outside of the developed world encompassing Western Europe, the United States and Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
The Reuters glossary says it is: "A term used to describe the financial markets of developing countries. Definitions vary of which countries are emerging and which are not."
There are some common countries on the major emerging markets indices, including Brazil, Hungary and Thailand.
The Economist magazine has regular updates on indicators from around two dozen emerging market economies.
Countries with unsophisticated, illiquid or virtually no financial markets such as Cambodia and Burundi are not found on these indices, but are still considered by some to be in the "emerging" group for want of an alternative classification.
One rough rule of thumb could be to look at countries whose government debt has been given a credit rating by the big rating agencies.
But in Africa, that group includes Gambia, Lesotho, Egypt, South Africa and Botswana, countries with different levels of development.
The "market" in the term also seems, in many cases, to state the obvious. Fifteen years ago the very visible hand of the state was firmly on the tiller of eastern Europe's economies, but most today are clearly market-oriented, selling off state assets while maintaining low budget deficits.
Their size may mean they are still "emerging", but few would doubt that they were now "markets". Billions and billions of pounds of foreign direct investment have poured into the region.
Then there South Africa. South Africa's economy is in many ways a dual one, a legacy of its recent past under apartheid and white rule.
On the one hand, its financial markets are as liquid and sophisticated as many found in the developed world.
Its top companies - some of which have moved their main listings to London - are global giants and include the likes of mining major Anglo American and SABMiller, the world's second largest brewer.
On the other hand, many of its roughly 45 million people live in abject poverty, and income disparities are among the sharpest on the planet. Unemployment is close to 40 per cent.
While there has been progress on many fronts, millions still lack proper sanitation and electricity.
In short, the majority live a Third World existence, while a minority is part of the First World - hence South Africa's emerging market tag.
But this means it gets punished when there are scares or sell-offs in other big emerging markets, such as Russia or Brazil - even if its own economic policies are sound and its financial markets are far more sophisticated.
Some far-off investors have also lumped South Africa - unfairly, most analysts would say - with neighbouring Zimbabwe, whose economy is suffering its worst crisis since its independence in 1980.
"I think what we need to do is get a bit more clinical on how we classify certain economies," said Mr Roodt.
"One could be developing and that would be one that is actually growing at a certain rate. Another could be regressive or 'undeveloping' like Zimbabwe."