The global value chain (GVC) concept has gained popularity as a way to analyze the international expansion and geographical fragmentation of contemporary supply chains and value creation and capture therein. It has been used broadly in academic publications that examine a wide range of global industries, and by many of the international organizations concerned with economic development. This note highlights some of the main features of GVC analysis and discusses the relationship between the core concepts of governance and upgrading. The key dynamics of contemporary global supply chains and their implications for global production and trade are illustrated by: (1) the consolidation of global value chains and the new geography of value creation and capture, with an emphasis on China; (2) the key roles of global supermarkets and private standards in agri-food supply chains; and (3) how the recent economic crisis contributes to shifting end markets and the regionalization of value chains. It concludes with a discussion of the future direction of GVC analysis and a potential collaboration with supply chain researchers.