Design researcher and columnist Soren Petersen's got a great installment in this week's Huffington Post nutshelling design values across different cultures. According to Petersen, American, Japanese and Australian cultures value innovation, the Europeans value function and China "gives little importance to the design process." Drilling further down, he estimates that
Functionality is communicated in Danish design through minimalism and longevity, German design is communicated by emphasizing efficiency and reliability, French design, by relaying the rethinking of functionality and Italian design calls for enjoyment of the product.
The article's great—if far too short; I wanted to read more on the subject. Perhaps Petersen provides more in his recently-released book, Profit from Design - Leveraging Design in Business, written with seven years' worth of research backing it up. I don't see the book on Amazon but it's available here.