TMBA 477: China From the Inside

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One of Dan and Ian‘s goals heading into 2019 was to feature more stories about China on the podcast this year.

China is the primary location where many of the products that entrepreneurs sell are traditionally manufactured, and it has become a fulcrum for a lot of the stuff that online product-based businesses do.

On today’s show, we are excited to bring you some insights from someone who has been living and working on the ground in China for the better part of a decade.

Brian Miller lives in Shenzhen, China, where he operates a third-party logistics company called

He also runs a mid-six-figure Amazon FBA business, as well as a small China sourcing agency, so he is pretty diversified in the sourcing and fulfillment model that we have discussed so often on this podcast.

What makes Brian’s story unusual is that he actually started his working life within a Chinese state-owned enterprise or SOE, which is something that very few westerners have done.

This isn’t just a conversation about manufacturing in China, though. Brian also shares his experience living in the country, what it’s like to interact with the Chinese people, and much, much more.


Listen to this week’s show and learn:

  • What it was like for Brian to work for a business that was run by the Chinese government. (5:02)
  • A glimpse into Brian’s life in Southern China. (9:25)
  • How Brian was able to beat his competition by finding their factories in China. (23:39)
  • Why Amazon businesses should be worried about Chinese sellers. (34:45)
  • Brian’s insight into the future of Chinese manufacturing and trade. (46:58)

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This week’s episode is brought to you by Dynamite Jobs. Dynamite Jobs is a service that helps entrepreneurs and listeners of this show find top, experienced talent to join their teams.  These types of remote positions can be especially challenging to hire for, and we specialize in making that process easy.  For those of you who are on the hunt for a new opportunity, we know how frustrating it can be to find good remote jobs, so we only work with established, reputable companies offering great remote opportunities. If you’re looking for a new job in the new year, check out

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Published on 01.24.19
  • sankar g

    Thanks for yet another great podcast. How do I get in touch with Brian

  • Brian Miller

    Hey Sankar, you can shoot me an email at:

  • Paul Bleisch

    For those interested in more background on the UPU, Planet Money had an episode on this (

    Brian, I am curious how the recent attempts at changing the US participation in the UPU might change your business (and others that make use of the asymmetric rates). For reference,

  • Brian Miller

    Hey Paul, after the US threatened to pull out of the UPU there were renegotiated rates in Nov 2018 for shipments between China Post and USPS. Rates from China to the US increased for lighter items and decreased for any item over approximately 430 grams. The increase was marginal and we didn’t see any of our clients or others decide to stop shipping through this channel because of the increases.

    This would have an impact on my business if the situation were to get worse, but there are other ways that we can offer competitive rates even without these agreements in place. Many shippers send large consolidated freight shipments from China to USPS distribution centers containing small packet shipments that are labeled with local USPS labels applied in China. We do this for the supplement market when our clients don’t want their customers to know the supplement came from China. This method is fairly competitive without the need for UPU negotiated rates.

  • Paul Bleisch

    Thanks for the reply. I hadn’t realized that the rates were actually renegotiated. I thought that was still to come.

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