• Cathrine Glejborg Mogensen
In the light of earlier studies showing the importance of gaining adequate knowledge about the culture of a country as a critical factor to prevent a business failure, the purpose of this thesis is to provide Danish companies and business people with basic tools to understand Chinese culture in order to avoid problems and challenges that may lead to business failure or confusion.
This thesis seeks to analyze Chinese culture values and compare it to Danish culture values in order to find the dominating cultural differences between the two countries and find out which of these pose a challenge for Danish design and fashion brands. The outcome of the thesis is based on both a theoretical as well as a practical point of view. The theoretical approach is mainly based on Geert Hofstede, Fons Trompenaars & Charles Hampden-Turner and McCracken which I have used to find the dominating cultural differences between Denmark and China. The majorities of the theories show overall cultural differences between different countries in the World, but do not give an in-depth analysis of each country. I have therefore supplemented Hofstede’s results with secondary sources such as Verner Worm and Tony Fang, who have done academic work with specific focus on China and Scandinavia. Furthermore, I have supplemented the results by interviewing, Jacob Johansen from Mench and Karin V. Ankerstjerne from KinaVækst, attended at lecture with Jun Tang, CEO of GOATIME, who all have experience with China, business and cultural differences. The interviews are also meant to verify Hofstede and Trompenaars & Hampden-Turners ́ theories, as I have found differences in the theoretical and empirical results.
The results from the value dimensions show, that Danish and Chinese business culture differ in many ways and are direct opposites in some dimensions. The value dimension creates a picture of the dominating cultural differences. The most obvious differences according to the results of the theories are found in Hofstede ́s cultural dimensions. The two cultures also differ to a certain degree in Trompenaars & Hampden-Turners ́ cultural dimensions, but the results are not as striking as Hofstede ́s findings. However, the differences in all the dimensions are big enough to causing a challenge for Danish design and fashion companies wanting to enter the Chinese market.
According to the interviews and secondary sources the theory corresponds very well with the empirical findings except from the results of one of Trompenaars ́ value dimensions “Affective vs. Neutral cultures”. Apart from that the only differences are that the cultural differences may no longer be as significant as the theories indicate due to the rapid growth of China’s economy with the last few years and the large number of foreign companies opening business and shops in China, that influence the Chinese business and shopping culture towards a more western way of doing things However, many of the differences are still significant enough to pose a challenge, while others do not seem to cause the Danes many problems.

According to the interviews and secondary sources, the most common challenges faced by Danes already or wanting to enter the Chinese market in the near future is identifying the differences in hierarchy and the role of members of the sociality. The Chinese have a more indirect way of speech and take criticism more personally than Danes. Furthermore, Danes doing business in Chinese have to deal with Chinese bureaucracy and corruption which thrives to a great extent in Chinese. The biggest challenge, however, seems to be the differences in the perception of time. Due to the cultural differences the most important factors to comply with the empirical findings, are the way Danes do business. The results showed an unequivocal way of “thinking”; to take time to build up guanxi and face, which includes building a relationship and gain trust, to be patient and polite, and adapt to the local culture, sizes and buying behavior.

Key words: China, Chinese market, Chinese middle-class, Cultural differences, Danish design and fashion
SpecialisationChina Area Studies
Publication date30 May 2014
Number of pages103
ID: 198324578