I posted a discussion some weeks ago in a Linkedin Group called China Expats. The question was "As an Expat in China, what would you recommend to a colleague about to land in the country? ". There were very interesting comments made (39) and most of them talked around one of the following topics:
1. Staying respectful is key
2. Keep your mind open and prepare to be flexible. Stay in a positive attitude.
3. There are big cultural differences across China.
4. Be patient. Be careful, don´t be too direct.
5. Learning Chinese is a plus
Most of these points would probably hold true in other countries: respect, learning the language, flexibility and positive attitude. It is interesting to note that foreigners are many times perceived as being too direct in China.
The cultural differences are understandable in a country that according to National Geographic has more than 20% of earth´s population and an area of more than 9 million square kms, where you find an incredible diversity including Hong Kong, Tibet, the rich cities located in the eastern coast, etc. I attach the link in case you want to have a look at the full discussion Linkedin Discussion