Luke, I understand your point, and that is why I caution you to not accept the broad claims you cited. "Some African cultures" and "some Chinese cultures" are undefined collectives. These observations are come from validated statistical surveys:
- Switzerland's high scores on uncertainty avoidance and future orientation help explain its centuries of political neutrality and world-renown banking industry.
- Singapore is known as a great place to do business because it is clean and safe and its people are well educated and hardworking. Ths is no surprise, considering Singapore's high scores on social collectivism, future orientation, and performance orientation.
- A worldwide survey of 30,000 managers by Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, who prefer the term communitarianism to collectivism, found the highest degree of individualism in Israel, Romania, Nigeria, Canada, and the United States. Countries ranking lowest in individualism --thus qualifying as collectivist cultures--were Egypt, Nepal, Mexico, India, and Japan. Brazil, China, and France also ended up toward the collectivist end of the scale.
(From Organizational Behavior, Seventh Edition, by Robert Kreitner and Angelo Kinicki, McGraw Hill Irwin, 2007, pp 119-120 "International OB: Managing Across Cultures.")
Even, so I have to note that China scored only "toward the collectivist end"? Why not completely collectivist? See this report from a trusted source.
"How to Meet the Strategic Challenge Posed by China," by David P. Goldman, Imprimis, Hillsdale College, March 2018 • Volume 47, Number 3, here: https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/how-to-meet-the-strategic-challenge-posed-by-china/
"... Nor is China unified. It has a written system of several thousand characters that takes seven years of elementary education to learn, working four hours a day with an ink brush, ink pot, and paper. Learning these characters well enough to read a school textbook or a newspaper is how the Chinese are socialized. The current generation is the first where the majority of Chinese understand the common language, due to the centralization of the state and the mass media. But the Chinese still speak very different languages. Cantonese and Mandarin are as different as Finnish and French. In Hong Kong, you’ll see two Chinese screaming at each other in broken English because one speaks Mandarin and the other speaks Cantonese and they don’t have a word in common.
"China is inherently unstable because all that holds it together is an imperial culture and the tax collector in Beijing. It is like a collection of very powerful, oppositely charged magnets held together by super glue—it looks stable, but it isn’t.
"China’s Communist Party government is a merciless meritocracy, which is one reason the Chinese have difficulty understanding American politics. If you’re in the Chinese leadership, you made it there by scoring high on a long series of exams, starting at age twelve—which means you haven’t met a stupid person since you were in junior high school. The fact that democracies can frequently advance stupid people—we are entitled to do that if we wish—doesn’t make sense to the Chinese. The one thing President Xi Jinping cannot do is get his child into Peking University unless that child scores high on his exams. Here in America, you can buy your way into Harvard. You can’t do that in China. So while the Chinese Communist Party is not a particularly efficient organization, and is certainly not a moral one, it has a lot of incredibly smart people in it."
At some dinner meeting or other, someone who had been to both places, corrected me when I placed Chinese and Japanese society in the same culture of collectivism. It is true that Japanese studiously avoid conflict. However, unlike in Japan, on a crowded street in China, very much unlike in Japan, you might see two men pushing and hitting each other in an argument. And, as noted above, you are not likely to see that in Singapore or Switzerland.
Note, also, above Nigeria is said to be "individualist." It depends. Some peoples or tribes there are; others are not. Among some people, it is expected that you will grow up and leave your parents' home, and probably leave your village. Nigeria's biggest cities bustle, as all urban cultures do.
These statistics are broad sample of big numbers. One aspect of globalism is that it is a direct outgrowth of urbanism. Cities draw people from the traditional countrysides. They lose their original cultures and adopt new norms. It is not perfect Randian individualism, but it is a broad trend. And China has seen the largest migration in human history with truly millions of young girls, 15 to 18 years of age, leaving the farms for the cities. It has been going on since about 1985, so that's a full generation.