Global e-Business Association

The e-Business Studies - Vol. 17 , No. 5

[ Article ]
The e-Business Studies - Vol. 17, No. 5, pp.39-52
Abbreviation: The e-Business Studies
ISSN: 1229-9936 (Print) 2466-1716 (Online)
Print publication date Oct 2016
Final publication date 30 Oct 2016
Received 30 Sep 2016 Revised 23 Oct 2016 Accepted 27 Oct 2016

A Comparative Study on the Effects of Korean Wave and Corporate Social Responsibility on Chinese Purchase Intention: Western Inland & Eastern Coast of China
Seol Kang* ; Keon Hyeong Lee**
*Master Course, Graduate School of Global Business, Dongguk University (
**DBA, School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University (

한국기업의 CSR 활동과 한류 인식이 중국 소비자의 구매의도에 미치는 영향에 관한 비교연구: 중국 동부 연해 지역과 서부 내륙 지역을 중심으로
강설* ; 이건형**
*동국대학교 대학원 글로벌비즈니스협동과정 대학원 석사과정 (
**칭화대학 경제관리학원 혁신창업전략과 공상관리 박사 (


This study investigates the influence of Korean wave and Corporate Social Responsibility on the relationship among national image, corporate image, brand image and consumer purchasing intention. we used survey data collected from 578 effective respondents by distributing questionnaire during Feb 25th to March 10th in 2016, which were analyzed by using SPSS 19.0 and Amos 17.0. Overall, the results showed that Korean wave and Corporate Social Responsibility had a significant effect on purchase intention through mediating roles of national image, corporate image and brand image in both Western Inland of China and Eastern Coast of China. Korean wave and brand image play a larger role in Chinese purchase intention in Western Inland of China, and CSR and corporate image play a larger role in Chinese purchase intention in Eastern Coast of China. Lastly, the authors discuss the theoretical and managerial implications and provide some suggestions for the Korean enterprises.


본 연구는 기업의 사회적 책임 활동과 한류가 구매의도에 미치는 영향에 있어서 국가이미지, 기업이미지와 브랜드이미지를 매개 변수로 설정하여 중국의 동부 연해 지역과 서부 내륙 지역을 중심으로 비교 분석하였다. 분석을 위하여 해당지역의 중국인들을 대상으로 2016년 2월 25일부터 3월 10일까지 설문지를 배부하여 응답을 수집 하였다. 수집된 자료 중 유의미한 578부의 응답을 SPSS 19 와 AMOS 17 버전을 이용하여 분석하였다. 분석 결과 동부 연안지역과 서부 내륙지역의 소비자들에게 한류 및 CSR이 국가이미지, 기업이미지와 브랜드이미지의 매개를 통해서 구매의도에 영향을 미치는 것으로 나타났다. 서부 내륙지역의 소비자들은 한국 제품들에 대한 구매 의도에 있어서 한류와 브랜드이미지가 더 큰 역할을 하는 반면에 동부 연해 지역의 소비자들에 있어서는 CSR과 기업 이미지가 더 큰 역할을 한다는 것으로 조사되었다.

Keywords: Corporate Social Responsibility, Korean Wave, National Image, Corporate Image, Brand Image, Purchase Intention
키워드: 기업의 사회적 책임, 한류, 국가이미지, 기업 이미지, 브랜드 이미지, 구매의도

Ⅰ. Introduction
Ⅱ. Literature review
Ⅲ. Research model and methodology
Ⅳ. Empirical Analysis
Ⅴ. Conclusion

Ⅰ. Introduction

Korean wave has been developing since its concept appeared from China in the mid of 1999 year, which is the phenomena that foreigners get wild enthusiasm over, long for, and try to learn Korean popular culture (Chulhyun Suh, Jinyoun Yang, 2012). Korean wave has been expanding over the world, especially in and around China and East Asia. Korean enterprises that advanced into China using Korean wave and its marketing strategy improved the image of enterprises at the same time, which lead to a significant impact on purchase intention of Korean products (Jiseok Lee, Ohsung Kwon, Dapeng Xu, 2012). In contrary to the view that Korean wave let business run at ease within China, an atmosphere against Korean wave appeared in consumption market. Korean enterprises tried to search for a new marketing method to break through such hardship, under the rapid market changes, it required Corporate Social Responsibility (hereafter, CSR) for Korean enterprises. In particular, there emerged arguments that should analyze how corporate image, national image and brand image which have an influence on CSR affect purchase intention of consumers. China is the first largest trade partners and investment destination for South Korea and also is the market that cannot quite give up for small and medium sized enterprises. With these reasons, Korean enterprises paid a great attention to CSR to contribute toward local societies with marketing strategies centered on Korean wave in the perspective of global management. There are lots of research on effects of Korean wave to corporate image and purchase intention, and research on effects of CSR to enterprise management activities also has been done much, but there are still lack of studies for simultaneous analysis of Korean wave and CSR.

Therefore, this study firstly targets consumers in China market with bi-sectional comparison, where are composed of consumers in eastern coast of China that Korean enterprises run the most active business and of consumers in western inland of China that foreign investment and overseas expansion of Korean enterprises are still less active, in the perspective of the Chinese domestic market. It secondly tries to analyze how Korean wave and CSR activities influence on promoting three image dimensions such as corporate image, national image, brand image of Korean products, and lastly analyze the mediating role of image dimensions between CSR activities and Korean wave to affect purchase intention of Chinese consumers.

Ⅱ. Literature Review
1. Corporate social responsibility

An endeavor of enterprises toward CSR is essential in business management and there is a drift towards running CSR business activities in domestic and global markets as well. Under the fast changing business environment and technology development in global market, competition among enterprises was becoming fierce. Especially, multinational enterprises and foreign small-medium sized firms where are running business in developing countries are utilizing CSR as a main strategy tool to achieve respect and interests from the local communities. In the perspective of long-term co-existence and sustainable development of business activities with the local markets, enterprises that advanced into the overseas local-market can strategically apply CSR to suit the local market situations (Porter & Kramer, 2006). There have been done lots of studies on enterprises’ CSR in a broad scope of academia. Carroll (1991) divided CSR into four responsibilities such as economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic responsibilities, which has a form of pyramid. To sustain business activity, enterprises should have a social responsibility since various cost generated from enterprise’ activities appeared to react with interests and expectation of interest groups, and it requires CSR associated with social environments in the manner of distributing mutual benefits between social activities and policy (Ebert & Griffin, 2016). CSR activities have some public serviced characteristics, generally have a good effect to corporate image (Drumwright, 1996; S. Menon and Kahn, 2003). Lantos (2001) asserted that strategic activities of CSR increase public interests and improve corporate image, which finally make consumers be committed to enterprises. Fombrun (1996) asserted that CSR activities motivate people to have a good reputation of benevolent companies. CSR activities in foreign markets are regarded as some parts of the national image. Insufficient CSR activities cause some side effects to the corporate image, the national image, brand image, ultimately, and purchase intention.

2. Korean wave

Korean wave, or “Hallyu” is commonly used as the spread of Korean popular culture across East and Southeast Asia (Shim, 2006). It was also referred to a newly generated term to represent preference phenomenon for Korean popular culture. At the initial stage, Korean wave per se was represented as Korean popular culture exported to China, such as dramas, films, and Korean relevant cultural products. With the regional expansion of export scope and technological development of the media in the late of 1990s, the power of Korean popular culture was expanded to Vietnam, Thailand, and across Southeast Asia and spreaded into Europe as well. The reason why Korean wave is important is that it is thought to originate in the fact to influence on purchase intention of Korean product and service. The perception of Korean wave by Chinese consumers has a positive effect on interests of South-Korea and image of Korean product (Hyeongsik Jung, 2006). The more interest of Korean wave, the higher the national image of Korea, which result in high evaluation and purchase intention for Korean-made products, which was investigated in Fukuoka, Japan (Hong, Kang, & Ohya, 2007).

Ⅲ. Research Model and Hypothesis
1. Research Model

Based on the theoretical background and research hypotheses in the below, we illustrated the following research model in [Figure 1]. Combining these views together, we argue that CSR and Korean wave influence corporate image, brand image, national image, and further affect Chinese consumers’ purchase intention during operating Korean enterprises’ business for Chinese consumer’s purchase intention process. Therefore, we propose in [Figure 1] to explain how CSR and Korean wave affect these image dimensions and their effectiveness in facilitating Korean enterprises’ business success in Chinese markets, especially, western inland and eastern coast of China in this study.

[Figure 1] 
Research Model

2. Hypothesis development
1) CSR and Corporate Image

Corporate image relevant with CSR has a high probability of directly influencing on the brand attitude (Brown & Dacin, 1997), and CSR activities are kinds of public service of the marketing activities of enterprises, which have the positive effect on corporate image. CSR activities among enterprises have positive effect of corporate image (Drumwright, 1996; S. Menon & Kahn, 2003; Rifon, Choi, Trimble, & Li, 2004; Varadarajan & Menon, 1988). Barich and Kotler (1991) asserted that the enterprise communicate with various level of classes through public welfare activities and realize the good image of the enterprise to be formed. Lantos (2001) suggested that strategic activities of CSR raise the public interest and corporate image, and they also improve enterprise staffs and consumers to promote their loyalty to enterprises. With much interest in corporate social responsibility, it is necessary for the enterprise to equip with society friendly image and attitude. These image of the enterprise and the attitude make consumers have the friendly feelings of the enterprises that actively participated in the activities of the social responsibility (Eunkyung Han, 2003).

H1: CSR activities of enterprises have a positive influence on corporate image.

2) CSR and Brand Image

It is considered that there are still not sufficient research on the relationship between CSR and brand image in the domestic studies. Sen and Bhattacharya (2001) explained that CSR activities have a positive impact on the consumer and corporate image, that is, their activities have a significant influence on establishing a favorable corporate image. Hoeffler and Keller (2002) have suggested a proposition that corporate social marketing has a positive impact on brand image. Corporate advertising and corporate social responsibility activities have a positive impact on corporate image and brand attitude (Yoon & Seo, 2003). Fombrun (1996) asserted that the enterprises playing various roles as CSR activities motivate people to have a good reputation from their business activities, and people recognize that they do not harm the environment, ultimately, they can achieve the reputation of benevolent companies.

H2: CSR activities of enterprises have a positive influence on brand image.

3) CSR and National Image

National image is regarded as the awareness of the country itself by the other members of international societies. In other words, the images own a series of information set for the nation, and their information have deliverable traits, so the national image is regarded as an important part of the “soft power” (Nye, 2004). It also reflects comprehensive capabilities and influence of the nation in direct. The enterprises run business overseas market to keep sustaining market product and service, and they conduct various social welfare activities related with business social events to achieve national and regional credibility. CSR activities in overseas markets are represented as some parts of the national image. Especially, in case of relieving serious side effects of the corporate image, the enterprises that have willingness to enter into overseas markets should take strategies to fulfill CSR activities. Insufficient CSR activities cause some serious side effects to the corporate image, ultimately, and the national image. It is very important to conduct CSR activities actively overseas markets. It is for the consumers to enhance the awareness of the national image, which imply that there can exist some causal relationship between the low function of CSR and negative assessment by the consumers. Therefore, the following research hypothesis was proposed.

H3: CSR activities of enterprises have a positive influence on national image.

4) Korean wave and Corporate Image

The concept of country of origin were studied in related to the origin of the nation manufacturing the companies’ products. A nation as a country of origin has a great influence on selecting the product that consumers decide to purchase. Consumers in a specific country forming an overall awareness about the products regarded it as “the image of origin” (Narayana, 1981). Typically, people that close to the cultural, ethnic, and language with themselves would be inclined to prefer a similar country with their characteristics. South Korea's products tend to have a relatively high evaluation on the recognition of national brand image and of businesses and of their products (Goeldener and Ritchie, 2011). As it is difficult to assess the product objectively, place-of-origin image can replace the assessment of the product. It was investigated that Korean products have much positive evaluation than domestic or other foreign products before encountering Korean wave and was also shown that the image of Korean product and service was improved and was positively evaluated after encountering Korean wave (Ounyeong Lee, 2006). According to the previous research, it is expected that Korean wave will have a significant effect on the image of Korean enterprises and purchase intention of Korean product. Therefore, the following research hypothesis was proposed.

H4: Korean wave have a positive influence on corporate image.

5) Korean wave and Brand Image

It is estimated that Korean wave has a empirically impact on the brand image of South Korea within China. Most of South Korean companies utilize Korean wave marketing in their business. It was reported that Korean wave star actors increased a good feeling of advertising with Korean product and service and enhanced the effects of their commercial advertisement (Yangho Choi, Meiju Xiang, Bong Chul Kim, 2009). The attitude of advertisement was regarded as the mediating role between advertisement and the attitude of product or its brand for consumers (Aaker, Batra and Myers, 1992). The attitude of advertising with modeled Korean wave star celebrities can be a main determinant of the image of the South Korean brand attitudes. It can be set as the following hypothesis that the attitude of the national image and Korean wave have a influence on brand image of Korean product and service.

H5: Korean wave have a positive influence on brand image of Korean product and service.

6) Korean wave and National Image

Korean wave phenomenon is not simply a TV drama, K-POP music, Korean food, Korean pop, but is a comprehensive cultural phenomenon related with Korean wave. In the perspective of marketing, there were much research that the national image has a good effect on the overall assessment about the product and purchase intention (Bilkey and Nes, 1982; Hall, 1986; Eroglu and Machleit, 1989; Roth and Romeo, 1992). In the previous research on the national image, the causal factors to influence the probability of exposure are suggested as indirect experience, such as broadcasting, TV drama, watching movies, advertisement, and oral tradition, and direct experience, such as tour to the nations, contact with people in the nations and the experience of purchase the nations’ products (Heslop and Papadopoulos, 1993). However, Ounyeong Lee (2006) shows that Korean wave had a positive influence on the image of South Korea and assesment of Korean product, but did not a positive on purchase intention, which still not connect to consuming behaviors.

H6: Korean wave has a positive influence on national image of Korean.

7) Corporate Image, Purchase Intention, and Brand Image

It is important to get a favorable image from consumers in order to be acknowledged as the legitimacy of companies in the market and for a successful business activities. Powerful and clear image of enterprises increase the reliability of the product and can make consumers have tendency to purchase the product. Also, the corporate image take a role in creating the main factor to decide the purchase, which lead to pre-selling (Loudon and Della Bitta, 1984). Andreassen and Lindestand (1998) suggested that the corporate image had a positive impact on the satisfaction and the purchase intention. In addition, the corporate image not only affects the awareness about the product but also influence on consuming behaviors such as purchase intention. The corporate image has a positive influence on the assessment of brand and purchase intention by consumers (Keller and Aaker, 1997). In addition, the brand image have a positive influence on the attitude of brand and purchase intention (Sangbin Lee, 2007).

H7-1: Corporate image has a positive influence on purchase intention of Chinese consumers
H7-2: Corporate image has a positive influence on brand image.

8) National Image, Purchase Intention, and Brand Image

The good image of nation has generally a beneficial effect on the selection of the product. The powerful the national image is, the higher the purchase intention in choosing the product (Bongsoo Lee, 2009). The national image affects purchase intention through a belief or attitude about the properties of a product (Obermiller and Spangenberg, 1989). This positive assessment will have a positive influence on the purchase intention of Korean product.

H8-1: National image has a positive influence on purchase intention

There can exist a definite difference of consumer preference between the unknown brand and the known brand in the advanced countries (Gaedeke, 1973). Even though the known brands manufactured in the advanced countries are better preferred, consumers have different images between the domestic made product and foreign made product in the same product. In the end, it can be described that the national image has a stronger influence than brand image. In addition, the national image that is recognized as low level of product quality debase the perceived level of product (Cordell, 1992). According to these arguments, this study suggests that the brand image has a mediating role between national image and purchase intention.

H8-2: National image has a positive influence on brand image.

9) Brand Image and Purchase Intention

Keller (1993) asserted that the overall brand image can be thought to be even better if the factors forming the brand image, such as price, quality, design or advertising images of the product, show a good image. Consumers, at the level of awareness about the brand image, have a basic difference among the recognition of brand image since consumers have their symbolic image, evocative images and functional images in their memory (Dongkyun Kim, Inkon Koh, 2010). Whether the brand image is a rational or emotional, brand image is the perceived phenomenon formed through the tectonic interpretation of consumers (Dobni and Zinkhan, 1990). Enterprises put the unique meaning to the brand in order to satisfy the needs of consumers’ wants. The perception of the brand image affect consumers’ perception of brand value, which result in purchase intention.

H9: Brand image has a positive influence on purchase image.

Ⅵ. Empirical Analysis
1. Sample and data collection

To address the research questions, a quantitative study was selected. To develop and test questionnaire for CSR and Korean wave within China where mainly focus on eastern coast and western inland of China, this study first reviewed relevant theoretical, practical literatures before executing a quantitative study. Data was achieved utilizing random sampling of citizens over 20 years old within coastal regions (Qingdao city) and inland regions (Inner Mongolia) and limited targets who had used Korean product and service. It was conducted through e-mail and telephone panels since target respondents were in all lived in China and also current consumers who had experience of Korean product in order to collect appropriate respondents relevant to this study. The reason why we selected these regions was that the consumers in these regions reflect the difference among economic development stages in China. Additionally, even though these regions share national and cultural commonalities based on their history, they are much different from geographic regions and far away in distance each other. The job field of respondents with the consumption experience of Korean product and service ranges from office workers or college students, and full time housewife. The collection of questionnaire was conducted within around two weeks from 25th Feburary, 2016 to 10th March, 2016. With data examination that includes missing value, suspicious pattern data, and data distribution, a final effective sample size of 578 responses from randomized selected 600 target respondents were used in analyzing this empirical study, which were distributed to three hundred ones for coastal regions and for inland regions in separate, which we received 293 responses for coastal regions and 285 responses for inland regions. It is described the features of the collected sample in <Table 1>. An investigation of the sample features indicates that the gender of respondents ranges 40.9% for males and 59.1% for female in western inland of China, and ranges 40.2% for males and 59.8% for female in eastern coast of China. The level of education ranges over college degrees occupied over 80% of all target respondents in both regions. The age of respondents ranges 47.6% for eastern coast and 43.6% for western inland of China, which occupied around 45 % of the collected sample with the scope from 20 to 29 years, and it also shows a high ratio with around 45 % with experience of Korean product within 30 to 59 years.

<Table 1> 
Demographic Characteristics between Eastern coast and Western inland of China
Category Region Eastern Coast Western Inland
Measure Frequency(%) Frequency(%)
Gender Male 115 (40.2%) 108 (40.9%)
Female 171 (59.8%) 156 (59.1%)
Occupation College 108 (37.8%) 105 (39.8%)
housewife 25 (8.7%) 42 (15.9%)
business 18 (6.3%) 26 (9.8%)
professionals 12 (4.2%) 18 (6.8%)
Office worker 53 (18.5%) 48 (18.2%)
Public officials 30 (10.5%) 20 (7.6%)
etc 40 (14.0%) 5 (1.9%)
Education High school 38 (13.3%) 52 (19.7%)
college 203 (71.0%) 185 (70.1%)
graduate 45 (15.7%) 27 (10.2%)
20~29 136 (47.6%) 115 (43.6%)
30~39 45 (15.7%) 52 (19.7%)
40~49 58 (20.3%) 39 (14.8%)
50~59 32 (11.2%) 45 (17.0%)
Over 60 15 (5.2%) 13 (4.9%)

<Table 2> 
Factor analysis in Western Inland of China and Eastern Coast of China
Category Factor Score SMC t-value CR
Variables Indicators W E W E W E W E
Korean wave HL1 0.74 0.728 0.547 0.53 -- -- 0.853 0.855
HL2 0.857 0.864 0.734 0.747 12.963*** 13.205***
HL3 0.835 0.847 0.697 0.718 12.765*** 13.108***
CSR ZR1 0.847 0.846 0.717 0.715 -- -- 0.942 0.941
ZR2 0.797 0.788 0.635 0.62 15.862*** 16.188***
ZR3 0.806 0.807 0.65 0.652 16.159*** 16.831***
ZR4 0.807 0.811 0.651 0.657 16.183*** 16.941***
ZR5 0.809 0.808 0.654 0.654 16.237*** 16.870***
ZR6 0.812 0.815 0.659 0.664 16.338*** 17.096***
ZR7 0.817 0.798 0.668 0.637 16.518*** 16.520***
ZR8 0.847 0.857 0.718 0.734 17.541*** 18.584***
National Image GJ1 0.821 0.827 0.675 0.685 -- -- 0.921 0.921
GJ2 0.868 0.86 0.753 0.739 16.905*** 17.542***
GJ3 0.855 0.851 0.731 0.724 16.538*** 17.268***
GJ4 0.818 0.818 0.669 0.669 15.506*** 16.287***
GJ5 0.822 0.829 0.675 0.687 15.600*** 16.615***
Corporate Image QY1 0.867 0.864 0.751 0.746 -- -- 0.882 0.868
QY2 0.819 0.815 0.671 0.665 15.698*** 15.666***
QY3 0.846 0.806 0.715 0.65 16.340*** 15.466***
Brand Image PP1 0.829 0.833 0.687 0.693 -- -- 0.9 0.896
PP2 0.845 0.84 0.714 0.706 16.042*** 16.547***
PP3 0.805 0.791 0.648 0.626 14.979*** 15.228***
PP4 0.85 0.843 0.722 0.71 16.161*** 16.614***
YY1 0.865 0.859 0.748 0.739 -- -- 0.918 0.915
YY2 0.832 0.82 0.692 0.672 17.111*** 17.117***
YY3 0.885 0.881 0.783 0.776 18.974*** 19.228***
YY4 0.851 0.852 0.724 0.726 17.781*** 18.230***
W: Western Inland, E: Eastern Coast
SMC: Squared Multiple Correlation
Note: **P<0.001

2. Reliability and validity assessment

To evaluate the reliability and validity of the indicators used in this research, firstly, exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to confirm the unidimensionality of each construct was conducted. This study also conducted principal component analysis (PCA) using Varimax rotation method in analyzing factor analysis and Cronbach’s alpha except for Dillon-Goldstein’s ρ (Tenenhaus, Vinzi, Chatelin, and Lauro, 2005). The measured each indicator converges to the corresponding a factor and its indicator loads to one factor with high proportion than other factors (Wetzels, Odekerken-Schröder, Van Oppen, 2009; Lee, 2015). A block is usually accepted as unidimensionality in the case that 1st eigenvalue is higher than 1. Cronbach’s alpha is a traditional index to confirm the reliability of constructs, and it can be unidimensional if its value is usually more than 0.7 for confirmatory studies and exceeds 0.6 for exploratory studies but their criteria are accepted in different each academic fields (Lee, 2015), in this analysis, six indicators with less than .04 were deleted among 27 measuring indicators in total. The reliability coefficient were shown .855 for Korean wave, .941 for CSR, .921 for national image, .868 for corporate image, .896 for brand image, and .915 for purchase intention. It results in that blocks support a unitary construct and satisfy the criteria of a block unidimensionality to proceed the next evaluation of measurement models (Lee, 2015).

3. Hypotheses Tests

The fit index set in this study model is x2/DF=1.317, GFI= .907, AGFI= .887, RMR= .159, NFI= .928, CFI= .981 for eastern coast of China, and the fit index set for western Inland of China shows x2/DF=1.342, GFI= .0899, AGFI= .878, RMR= .179, NFI= .9282, CFI= .979, which these values are in general acceptable. Therefore, it can be evaluated as a model describing data relatively well and remaining hypotheses were accepted with statistical significance among research hypotheses set up by this study at first as shown in the following <Table 3> and <Table 4>.

<Table 3> 
Hypotheses Tests Results for Western Inland of China
Path Coefficient Estimates t-value p Result
CSR ---> National Image 0.281 0.056 4.422 *** support
CSR ---> Corporate Image 0.38 0.056 6.188 *** support
CSR ---> Brand Image 0.23 0.059 3.407 *** support
Korean wave ---> National Image 0.294 0.073 4.351 *** support
Korean wave ---> Corporate Image 0.443 0.077 6.522 *** support
Korean wave ---> Brand Image 0.252 0.08 3.372 *** support
National Image ---> Brand Image 0.159 0.063 2.5 ** support
Corporate Image ---> Brand Image 0.249 0.073 3.238 ** support
National Image ---> Purchase Intention 0.201 0.069 3.069 ** support
Corporate Image ---> Purchase Intention 0.206 0.074 2.817 ** support
Brand Image ---> Purchase Intention 0.253 0.08 3.331 *** support
Note: ***P<0.001

<Table 4> 
Hypotheses Tests Results for Eastern Coast of China
Path Coefficient Estimates t-value p Result
CSR ---> National Image 0.376 0.055 6.055 *** support
CSR ---> Corporate Image 0.227 0.06 3.361 *** support
CSR ---> Brand Image 0.42 0.056 6.881 *** support
Korean wave ---> National Image 0.163 0.07 2.627 ** support
Korean wave ---> Corporate Image 0.162 0.072 2.528 ** support
Korean wave ---> Brand Image 0.353 0.075 5.493 *** support
National Image ---> Brand Image 0.275 0.066 4.252 *** support
Corporate Image ---> Brand Image 0.189 0.073 2.584 ** support
National Image ---> Purchase Intention 0.18 0.06 2.939 ** support
Corporate Image ---> Purchase Intention 0.32 0.07 4.423 *** support
Brand Image ---> Purchase Intention 0.161 0.079 2.127 ** support
Note: ***P<0.001

V. Conclusion

This study set up the research model and verified the effects among factors through structural equation modeling in order to investigate the influence of CSR activities and Korean wave on Chinese purchase intention of Korean product through national image, brand image, and corporate image. The results show that CSR activities and Korean wave have a significant influence on national image, brand image, corporate image, and finally purchase intention of Korean products. In the methodology section, It has a limitation that this study mainly used structural equation modeling to analyze acquired data. In order to compare responses from two regions, analysis of variance will make this research much reliable. Besides its theoretical findings, this article has several practical managerial implications as well. In recent, the problems of food safety and environment occurred in China and Chinese people came the high demand for the corporate social responsibility with their serious issue. In particular, Chinese consumers have a stronger recognition of the responsibilities for the occurred issue by foreign companies in the domestic and they are sensitive to react with corporate social responsibility. In addition, South Korean firms investing in China should seek for practical ways to enhance the corporate image and product image through Korean wave marketing to affect Chinese consumers’ purchase intention.

This study suggests the following implication based on the above investigated results.

First, we find that Korean wave and CSR did not have a direct effect on purchase intention, but Korean wave and CSR through mediating role of image factors have an indirect effect on purchase intention. In addition, it was investigated that Korean wave has stronger effect on purchase intention than CSR in western inland of China, in contrary, CSR has stronger effect on purchase intention than Korean wave in eastern coast of China. However, it was analyzed that CSR activities did not have a direct influence on purchase intention in both regions, which imply that Korean wave and CSR activities that are perceived by consumers are formed through the evaluation of corporate image, brand image, and national image.

Second, CSR and Korean wave have much influence on Korean corporate image than other indicators in western inland of China, which imply that it is important to achieve a favorable image from Chinese consumers in order to be recognized with legitimate image in market and successful business activities, which will lead to purchase intention for consumption of Korean product and service. Korean wave that has been kept over 20 years in China is spreading to the western inland areas of China and have a new chance of Korean wave market expansion in accordance with the changes of Chinese consumption behaviors and the market base expansion of culture, entertainment, and consumption based on increased income. It is time to penetrate to run business in the western inland areas as much as the potential demand of Korean product and service exists. Compared to the eastern coastal region, the western inland areas have a later growth stage in economic and industry development. Unlike the coastal cities including Shanghai and Qingdao, inland Chinese people can have cultural curiosity toward Korean culture since they have relatively low chance to come into contact. Therefore, it was investigated that the recognition of Korean wave has a bigger effect than CSR recognition. In the western inland of China, enterprises should try to actively spread Korean wave and run business with application of brand image, corporate image, and national image in order.

Third, CSR activities and Korean wave have a stronger effect on brand image than other indicators such as national image and corporate image in the eastern coastal region, which imply that there can have a mediating role of brand image among Korean wave, CSR, and purchase intention. It is also imply that the enterprises should try to assign the unique meaning to their own brand to satisfy the needs of various consumers. It was investigated that corporate image have a stronger effect on purchase intention than national or brand image, which imply that the Koran enterprises should have their authenticity on their business activities and should manage not to have a negative assessment against CSR activities.

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