New initiative to break “bamboo ceiling” for Chinese talent in leadership roles

Oct 17, 2018

  • PwC launches a platform to help more individuals of Chinese heritage reach the top of UK business, with founding partner Standard Chartered

  • The platform was launched at the Chinese Business Leaders Awards, celebrating Chinese individuals who have made significant contributions to the UK business community

A new cross company Chinese Talent Development Platform was launched by PwC last night (16th October) at the Chinese Business Leaders Awards. Despite records of high educational attainment, there is an underrepresentation of individuals of Chinese heritage in senior leadership roles across all sectors and industries in the UK.

PwC’s new cross company platform aims to combine online and classroom learning with networking and coaching to improve the Chinese talent pipeline and break the “bamboo ceiling”. Standard Chartered is a founding partner of the platform and the sponsor of the launch event.  

The initiative brings together existing programmes that also focus on improving the number of Chinese individuals in high-ranking positions including: the Diaspora Foundation, WoMentor,  LSE's Confucius Institute for Business London and SinoPro who are the founder of Chinese Business Leaders Awards. These will act as partners to the Chinese Talent Development Platform.

Suwei Jiang, lead partner of PwC UK’s China Business Group, said:

“The Confucian values and ideals that individuals of Chinese heritage are raised to observe and respect often don’t conform to the demands and pressures of the British workplace, hindering development and career progression.  There is a deep rooted culture of respect in China and many children are brought up not to challenge people more senior to them both by age and by authority. But in UK culture, this is often seen as a lack of confidence or assertiveness.

“We want to provide holistic and culturally relevant support to improve Chinese representation at the top of businesses and create culturally dexterous leaders.”

PwC UK’s China Business Group has been established for over 10 years and there are around 750 Chinese speakers in the UK firm. PwC is committed to improving diversity in the workplace, voluntarily publishing its BAME pay gap since 2016 to prompt action to ensure fair representation with the firm.

Jonathan Bewes, Vice Chairman, Corporate & Institutional Banking, Standard Chartered Bank, said:

“We are proud to be a founding partner of the Chinese Talent Development Platform. Drawing on the Bank’s unique diversity, we look forward to sharing our insights with participants to support their development, and equally learning from them to make the workplace more inclusive.”

The Chinese Business Leaders Awards, where the platform was launched,  are the first UK awards to recognise and celebrate Chinese individuals who have made significant contributions to the UK’s business community, sponsored by PwC for the second year running. This year winners were recognised across financial and professional services, technology and innovation, social contribution, entrepreneur and senior executive categories.  

Lord Mayor of London, Charles Bowman, said:

“I am delighted to host the 4th Chinese Business Leaders' Awards and the launch of a Cross-Company Chinese Talent Development Platform at the Mansion House.

“Chinese professionals make a huge contribution across the Square Mile and it is vital that we ensure they can reach the top of their chosen sectors.”


  1. To find out more about the Chinese Talent Development Platform please contact Yan Foye:

  2. To find out more about the Chinese Business Leaders Awards and this year’s winners, please visit

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