In Chinese Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), culture is one of the barriers which often plays an important role in the effective knowledge flow in their product design and development process. Investigations to designers from SMEs in China help us recognize several cultural barriers to this knowledge flow in the process of product design and development. This paper aims to identify those cultural barriers to knowledge flow in the design process of SMEs. Interviews with and questionnaires to designers from different SMEs were conducted. Empirical studies show that designers hesitate to share their knowledge; lack of trust and the thick wall among functional departments are major barriers influencing effective knowledge flows in the product design process. In addition, ongoing research on overcoming the identified cultural barriers to knowledge flow is also discussed briefly.

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