About the Young Icebreakers

The Young Icebreakers is a leading and respected network for young UK-China business leaders, continuing to reflect and enhance our strong heritage from the 48 Group Club. The Young icebreakers act as a bridge between China and the UK, provide a channel to share ideas, raise awareness and promote the achievements of British and Chinese young people, whilst creating a sense of collaboration and community among young professionals that are interested in China and the broader community.

The Young Icebreakers came into being following Premier Wen’s visit in 2006, and discussions with the Chairman of the 48 Group Club, Stephen Perry. The Young Icebreakers have remained in the focus of the Chinese leadership during visits to the UK. During his visit to London in January 2009, to attend the annual UK-China Summit, Premier Wen met members of the ‘Young Icebreakers’ to hear their views and encourage their enthusiasm for forging ongoing and further bonds of friendship between the two nations.

We continue to hold regular high profile events including but not limited to, lectures, receptions and round-tables attended by high profile business leaders from the UK and China. These include Willie Walsh (Chairman of International Airlines Group), David Reid (Chairman of Tesco), Peter Sands, Group Chief Executive of Standard Chartered Bank and many more. We typically hold these events in Central London, but we have also held events in Beijing. There is a regular Young Icebreakers anniversary dinner which is held each year in late April or early May.

Contact The Young IcebreakersLingyu Yang

Young Icebreakers China Launch Event

On July 11th 2013, the Young Icebreakers celebrated their inaugural lecture in Beijing.  The event was held as part of the 60th Anniversary of the prestigious 48 Group Club, and was kindly supported by five esteemed sponsors –  CQS, Linklaters, Arup, KPMG and IMI.  The event was held at the Beijing Hotel with nearly 400 people attending.  The event was preceded by a press conference and was widely covered by the Chinese media.

Lin Yue, Chair of the Young Icebreakers and Edward Holroyd Pearce, Chief of Staff of the Young Icebreakers opened the event, followed by a fascinating lecture delivered by Jim O’Neill (Economist and former Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management) and Mark Tucker (Group Chief Executive and President, AIA Group) on the topic of “The Changing World”. Attendees also enjoyed an interactive Q&A session, chaired by 48 Group Club Chair Stephen Perry and a networking session with drinks and canapés. CRCC Asia assisted with the organisation of the event.

We have received much positive feedback regarding the event, and there is clearly an appetite for future events to be held in China, so please get in touch if you would like to volunteer or be involved with the Young Icebreakers in China (

The 48 Group Club with CRCC Asia, Edward Holroyd Pearce and Others

Long Yongtu Lecture

On 1 July Long Yongtu, former Secretary General of the Boao Forum for Asia and former Vice Minister of MOFTEC (now known as MOFCOM), spoke at the 48 Group Club Young Icebreaker’s event about the challenges facing China over the next decade.

The event was opened by Richard Reid, Chairman KPMG London, who was followed by Peter Lu, Committee Member of The 48 Group Club Young Icebreakers, who welcomed Mr long Yongtu. After the talk the Q & A session was chaired by Stephen Perry, Chair of The 48 Group Club, and concluded by Lin Yue, Chair of the Young Icebreakers.

The event was kindly sponsored by KPMG.

At the event Mr. Long Yongtu was presented an ‘Icebreaker’s award, a 48 Group Club lifetime award for contributions to Sino-British relations

Young Icebreaker’s 5th Anniversary Dinner

On 2nd May the Young Icebreakers held their 5th anniversary dinner at the Royal China Restaurant. The guests of honour included Jim O’Neill and Ambassador Liu Xiaoming. In his speech Ambassador Liu Xiaoming called on the young business people in Britain to seize the opportunities to contribute to a brighter future of China-Britain relations. Please see the article below.

Willie Walsh Talk – 12 March 2013

The 48 Group Club, with the kind sponsorship of Linklaters, hosted a talk by Willie Walsh, Chief Executive Officer for International Airline Group.

Lin Yue, Chair of the Young Icebreakers opened the proceedings by welcoming Willie Walsh and guests. This was followed by Simon Davies, Firm wide Managing Partner of Linklaters who welcomed Willie Walsh

Willie Walsh spoke about the IAG‘s plans for the future following China’s trend for growth. He highlighted the importance of the new route from Heathrow to Chengdu and applauded China’s positive attitude to tackling the global financial crisis. The topics of both issues focussed upon the recent 18th Party Congress in China, the new leadership and the direct implications for China – UK trade, as well as the broader global challenges for China and the UK.

Dr. Gerard Lyons tabled the question and answer session dealing with issues such as an extra runway at Heathrow Airport, pointing out that the during the time spent over the arguments for a new runway at Heathrow, China had constructed 100 airports. Willie Walsh also urged the UK Government to ease visa controls on Chinese visiting UK to tap into the growing business and tourist opportunities.

The session ended with networking in Linklaters reception area. The 48 Group Club Young Icebreakers thank Linklaters for hosting such a successful event.


Chinese Ambassador to the UK HE Excellency Liu Xiaoming addresses the Young Icebreakers

YOUNG people are the key to forging stronger bonds of friendship between the UK and China says Stephen Perry who has been dealing with China for over forty years. Mr Perry is chairman of the 48 Group Club that was formed from the first western business companies to break the world trade embargo on China in the early 1950s. Today, as one of the most active Sino-UK business networks, the Group remains committed to promoting positive links with China.The Young Icebreakers is made up of the new generation of British and Chinese business people and entrepreneurs. The group was established  as part of the 48 Group Club in May 2008, following a discussion between Stephen Perry and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. Today, the 48 Group Club has over 500 British and Chinese members, including nearly 100 Young Icebreakers.

Premier Wen commented: “The future depends on young people. It is important that the ice-breaking spirit has been passed on to a new generation.”He added: “Young Icebreakers face a very different world compared to the one when the original Icebreakers laid the foundations of the 48 Group Club over 50 years ago. Icebreakers must have a broad vision so that they will be able to clearly see the direction ahead.”In January (2011) the leaders of the 48 Group Club’s young icebreakers, UK chairman Daniel Jacoel and China chairman Jack Perry, were among a group invited to meet China’s vice premier Li Keqiang during his visit to London.Vice Premier Li commented: ‘It is of strategic significance for China and Britain to enhance their cooperation of mutual benefits, which not only benefits the two countries and peoples but contributes to world peace, prosperity and


Li Keqiang, Vice Premier of China, with (left) Daniel Jacoel, Chairman of Young Icebreakers UK, and Jack Perry, Chairman of the Young Icebreakers ChinaStephen Perry said: “Encouraging the Young Icebreakers is, in my opinion, our most important work. They can create a long-term future for developing positive relations between Britain and China, and a future that is prosperous and inclusive.“I believe we have a huge task to help Western countries understand the realities of a modern China and how to benefit from and deal with China. And it is important that the young people from both Britain and China establish firm links to drive this forward.”    China’s current Ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, was guest of honour and keynote speaker  at the third anniversary – on Tuesday May 10th2010- celebrating the founding of the 48 Group Club’s Young Icebreakers group, commented: “Relations between our two countries are taking on strategic and global significance.He added: “Today, China has come a long way and the world is undergoing profound changes. So are China-UK relations. Looking back, we cherish deeply the vision, courage and pioneering spirit of the early Icebreakers. Looking forward, I believe that today we need the vision of those Icebreakers even more to help our countries work well together.”

Daniel Jacoel, UK chairman of the ‘Young Icebreakers’ commented: “The organisation has grown very rapidly and we are building on this momentum.”

Since forming the Young Icebreakers have hosted a number of high profile lectures focusing on China relations by distinguished business and political leaders including Jim O’Neill, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management; The Rat Hon Michael Heseltine, a founding patron of the 48 Group Club’; former UK premier Tony Blair; Peter Sands, Group Chief Executive of Standard Chartered Bank; Mark Tucker, former Group Chief Executive of Prudential; and David Reid, Chairman of Tesco.


Chinese Premier Urges An Open Mind

When Premier Wen Jiabao asked to meet Young Icebreakers in London in January 2009 he told them:“You ‘Young Icebreakers’ face a very different world compared to the one when the original “Icebreakers” laid the foundations of the 48 Group Club over 50 years ago. There has been tremendous change especially with the ever deepening challenges of a connected and globalised world.

So what can “Young Icebreakers” do to be most effective in the kind of world they are growing up in? I have been giving thought to what I believe are the characteristics of “Icebreakers” and I offer three aspects.First, “Icebreakers” must have a broad vision so that they will be able to clearly see the direction ahead.Next, is to have a pioneering spirit. That requires confidence and determination to seek goals undaunted by setbacks and criticism.Third it is important for “Icebreakers” to work in unity. That will mean having an open mind, seek out common ground and so be able together to continue the tradition of icebreaking!”


Photo credit: Xinhua News Agency Premier Wen Jiabao is in the centre of the image. On his right is Jack Perry, Chairman of Young Icebreakers in China and Daniel Jacoel Chairmen of the Young Icebreakers. Also in the image are the Yang Jiechi, Chinese Foreign Minister, and Chen Deming, Chinese Minister of Commerce. H.E. Ambassador Fu Ying is on the far left.

Young People Must Learn About China

n 2009 David Reid, Chairman of Tesco plc, delivered ‘Young Icebreakers’ lectures in Edinburgh and London when he urged over 500 young people to learn about China and drive forward exchanges at every level.

He said: “I believe young people in Britain have a huge amount to gain by understanding China, fostering links and friendships with China and in seeing China for the opportunity it presents to us all. To my mind China represents one of the biggest opportunities in the 21st Century.”


Left to right: Alistair Michie, 48 Group Club Honorary Secretary, Daniel Jacoel, Chairman of the ‘Young Icebreakers’ in the UK, Jack Perry, Chairman of the ‘Young Icebreakers’ in China, David Reid, Chairman of Tesco, and Stephen Perry, Chairman of the 48 Group Club.