Graham Perry was born in 1945 and was brought up in North London, UK. He attended University College School and then did his undergraduate studies at Churchill College, Cambridge in History and Economics. On graduation he switched to Law and, after commercial articles in the West End, he qualified as a Solicitor and moved to an East End practice, Clinton-Davis & Co, focusing on criminal advocacy. He was a Justice of the Peace from 1986 to 2002. In 1979 he made a career change and joined the family business which concentrated on trade with China.
Graham, who made his first eight-week visit to China in 1965 just before the commencement of the Cultural Revolution, travelled regularly to China to negotiate sales and purchase of commodities, native produce, chemicals, foodstuffs and metals. He was also involved in negotiating Joint Ventures between Chinese and US/UK companies