The first week of 2014 gave us a great example of how culture differences have an impact on the behavior of investors in the New York Stock Exchange. China Trip (NYSE:CTRP), the leading travel & touring operator in China and a darling of global investors, announced that, because of increasing competition from smaller companies trying to eat away on its dominant market share, it will offer its services basically ”at cost”, slashing its fees to the minimum, in order to defend its position.

American investors panicked. On the day this was announced, they sold CTRP shares like crazy and the stock plunged over 10%; on the day after, the stock dropped an additional 5%. The difference in mentality was starkly evident.

In China, positioning yourself in the market for the long run is more valued than short-term profit. For Chinese managers, it is a natural move to sacrifice your profits in order to gain market share or defend a leading position. In the US, it’s quite the opposite. Short-term results are more important than the distant future. Short-term results are concrete, palpable. The future is fuzzy and uncertain. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Plus, what is “long-term”?

For the typical American Wall Street investor or investment analyst, “long-term” is anything over 90 days, or beyond the current quarter. “Short-term” is anything under three months.

For the typical Chinese managers, “short-term” is anything under three years. “Long-term” is in a decade or two. So, when China Trip decides to slash prices to defend its market position, it is quite confident that it can afford to lose money for two or three years and eventually make more money to recuperate the losses in ten years. Nothing more natural than that. But in New York, nobody is that patient.

If you are a truly patient investor, you might wait for the shares to drop even further, and then buy some stock for the long term. And I do mean long term: for beyond 2020…