Similar Heritage, Different Cultures
East-West cultural differences are not the only things that you need to take into account. Although the Chinese, Taiwanese and Cantonese mostly originate from the same Han roots and many share the same language, religion, ethnic traditions and dynamic culture, there are a number of differences between these groups. For example, the Taiwanese passion for baseball, for which the mainland Chinese people are not very keen, results from the influence of the Japanese colonisation that lasted for half a century.
Chu and Chan (2008) have looked into the differences between Taiwanese, Cantonese and Chinese consumers. Among others, they have discovered that the Taiwanese respond much less to promotions that aren’t based on price, unlike the two other groups. They also noted that the factors that positively influence consumers when faced with the image of a company differed from one group to another. Brand names, product packaging, labelling and how easy the product is to purchase are the factors that the Taiwanese consider the most, while Cantonese put more attention on the availability of the goods and product presentation (display shelves, window displays, etc.).
In a world where few communication barriers remain, culture is more and more subject to various influences. What characterises a nation today may not be the case for future generations.
Sources : CHU, K-M et CHANG, H-C (2008). “Cross-cultural Consumer Behavior of General Merchandise for Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, Taiwan”, The Business Review, Cambridge , Vol. 11 , No. 1
TAO, S-P (2003). “Life Style and Consumers in Taiwan and the United States; A cross cultural comparison of Activities, Interests and Opinions (AIOs)”, Thesis, University of Minnesota.