The source of this cultural difference is, at least partly, in the Cultural Revolution. (I will refer to this as CR in the remainder.) But it is also much older than that in Chinese culture.
The concept is referred to as guan xi. (关系 in simplified Chinese.) This translates as "relationship." But it means a lot more than that.
In the book "Life and Death in Shanghai", the author Cheng Nien describes several incidents in the CR. One such event will serve to indicate the pattern.
She wished to build a small brick wall to separate two parts of a house. This was so that she could have privacy from the family that was occupying the other part of the house. Previous to the CR this would have been a simple matter. Buy some bricks. Find a bricklayer. Pay the brick layer to put in the wall. But now there were absolutely no legitimate sources of bricks. And no legitimate ways to obtain the services of a bricklayer.
However, there were numerous black market means. This was referred to as "The Back Door." She managed to find a friend-of-a-friend-etc. who would provide the bricks. She was required to come to a small landing dock on a river, with a laborer. The bricks were delivered and the laborer brought them to the house. Very soon after that the "Back Door" brick layer showed up and put the wall in. There was never any trouble about dealing in black market bricks, nor black market labor. And this process took only a little longer than a legit method would have, and cost only a little more.
Many requirements and necessities were in short supply. Officially in short supply. Anybody who didn't go through "The Back Door" would have found it hard to survive. Those with connections, and who used them, were able to survive, and to some extent thrive.
There was clearly unofficial approval of this process. Official means of getting things such as food, clothing, fuel to heat a house, etc., were essentially paralyzed. But black market means were growing and even becoming flush. You could nearly tell at a glance who had Back Door connections, because they were well fed and well dressed.
These conditions lasted a considerable time. Official means did not start to grow until 1980 (as a result of the changes brought in by Deng), and not quickly at first. The result is that an entire generation was conditioned quite thoroughly to expect to only be able to get what they needed by going to The Back Door. And the following generation only minimally got the idea there was any other way.
What is the result? The society still retains many of the top-heavy means of control that would otherwise stifle all commerce. Rules such as requiring passing exams, paying fees, filling in forms, etc. and etc. But the means to bypass all of this is unofficially ignored.
For the most part. Until a high ranking official comes to town and the local small-time officials want to make a big show of "cleaning things up." All the Back Door things, and all the seedier things are swept up and hidden until the Big Shot goes home.
From food quality and restaurant standards, to taking a test to enter university, to getting a promotion. It is still very strongly about Back Door relationships.
So, a junior executive businessman is being sent to an English speaking country to expand a Chinese business into that country. And he has learned some English, of course. But if he can pass a test he can get additional pay while abroad. Not a trivial amount either, it's about 30% of his base pay. The test is on-line. He can take it over the internet from home. And he is FURIOUS if his foreign native-English speaker friend refuses to help him take that test. Throwing furniture furious.
Furious because it means the friend isn't really as much of a friend as he thought.
So if a friend-of-a-friend has a hacked version of some software, they will not even see that there could be any objection to copying it. Because they have been trained for decades that the only way to get ahead is to use such methods. And that there are no penalties for it.