Helen Miao: from production floor to global CEO

Helen Miao was never one to allow expectations of what a woman ‘should do’ hold her back. Today she runs one of China’s leading label converting groups with operations across multiple continents.

Helen Miao, vice president and executive director of the globe-spanning Chinese converting group BSN, started as a front-line production worker 24 years ago. On her own initiative, she pushed herself to develop expertise in the materials, printing equipment, finishing technology and production processes that drive the label industry.

‘Confidence, hard work, persistence. No matter the starting point, you should set yourself clear goals, then I believe everyone can achieve success,’ she tells L&L with her characteristic enthusiasm.

The first time this writer met Ms Miao was at an industry forum in 2023, where she shared her story and industry experiences on a public stage with great confidence and elegance. In this special interview – one in a series of articles about women in the Chinese label printing industry - Miao shares her experiences with L&L’s global audience. Read on to understand how she received the nickname of ‘The Red Rose of BSN’ from her colleagues.

Persistence pays

Born into an ordinary working-class family, even as a child Helen Miao was full of curiosity about how the world worked. Her trailblazing personality led her to consider new avenues when choosing her career after graduation.

She took some detours in the days before joining the labels industry. ‘I started my first business with my husband, but it failed,’ recalls Miao. ‘At that very moment when things looked dark, I received an invitation from Chen Chengkai and his wife – the future founders of BSN Group – to cooperate in setting up a packaging and printing company.’

But which segment should they choose? Commercial printing? Folding cartons? With limited venture capital funding, they spent a long time making their final decision.

‘At that time, I was completely unaware of this (label) industry. Learning from previous entrepreneurial failures, I conducted a survey of the industry with my partners. Finally, we founded Yamei Packaging Company (the predecessor of the BSN Group) in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, focusing on the production of fl exible packaging and labels products,’ recalls Miao.

In the company’s infancy, Miao worked long hours ‘doing what
others do not want to do and learning what others do not want
to learn’. Her unremitting efforts helped lay the foundation for
the company’s development, giving her a deep knowledge of the range of materials and printing production equipment used in the labels industry.

‘Through these efforts, I grew rapidly from a newbie in the
label printing industry to an expert and leader in our company. Even now, I give suggestions for operational improvements to our co-workers and operators.’

Behind all these achievements, Miao put in a lot of ‘sweat and
tears’ which she hid from the people around her - especially in the early days when the company moved to a rented factory in Renhe Town, Baiyun District, Guangzhou City, where she lived in the factory with the workers.

You shouldn’t limit yourself to what is ‘expected’. You should dare to challenge traditional thinking and concepts and break the limits of gender roles and stereotypes

‘My persistence from the beginning was a matter of responsibility for the people working for the company. Today the driving force that ultimately supports me is the love of this industry, which multiplies daily, especially the moment when our label products are delivered and praised by customers. Then I feel that all the effort and hard work was worth it.’

Breaking limits

Miao has continued accumulating professional knowledge on different manufacturing technologies, material selection, printing processes and a wide range of marketing, brand promotion and other fields. Today she has become an outstanding and inspiring label industry practitioner and leader.

Miao also takes full advantage of her background in fashion design and previous experience in the clothing industry. Putting herself in the position of a brand designer helps when providing customized and personalized label solutions that help brands enhance their product image, supply chain efficiency and competitiveness.

When asked about the opportunities for female workers in the label printing industry, Miao shares, ‘A manufacturing industry such as label printing does place some special requirements on female workers, which may vary depending on the specific job and working environment. Taking the traditional printing workshop as an example, workers must operate heavy machinery and move around heavy rolls of materials, so there are requirements for strength and endurance which may not be suitable for female workers. But as printing equipment becomes more automated and digital, these positions are becoming less gender specific.

‘To be honest, I think that this industry provides a lot of development opportunities for female workers – particularly jobs that require patience and accuracy, such as pre-press, quality inspection and delivery management. These are all very suitable, and it is very easy to achieve much, and quickly, in these positions. Also, as an enterprise manager, I think we need to establish equal and flexible training and incentive
systems to provide better career promotion opportunities and an equal employment environment for all employees.’

Looking back on her experience over the past 24 years, Miao states, ‘The most important thing is - no limits! That means
you shouldn’t limit yourself to what is “expected”. You should dare to challenge traditional thinking and concepts and break
the limits of gender roles and stereotypes. In my opinion, both male and female employees should determine their goals
according to their interests and strengths, try their best to work hard, improve and act toward their self-defined goals. No matter what the outcome, you will emerge with a better version of yourself.’

Miao is also very grateful to Chen Chengkai and his wife, the founders of BSN group, for giving her their full trust and the
space to become today’s ‘Red Rose of BSN’.

‘Especially now, in a period of accelerating transformation in the industry, new technologies, new materials, new solutions are constantly being applied. Employees in the label printing industry need to constantly learn to improve their skills, adapt to the ever-changing needs and obtain opportunities for promotion. It is the job of company owners to ensure there are equal opportunities and challenges for both men and women.’


Helen Miao says she owes her achievements to the team and customers who have supported her over the years.

‘If there’s one lesson I can share, it’s that I chose the right boss and then built an all-conquering, strong-willed team to
support me. No matter what innovative technologies and products we have developed, how great the achievements we have contributed to the development of the industry, or how much we have influenced the industry, it is not through my own work, but the cooperation of our superb team.’

After years of development work, Miao and her team have brought the company from a small factory in Wenzhou to a group headquartered in Guangzhou, with factories in Wenzhou (Zhejiang Province), Guanzhou (Guandong Province), Indonesia, South and North Vietnam, and sales offices in Hong Kong, the United States, France, the Netherlands and Germany.

I think we need to establish equal and fl exible training and incentive systems to provide better career promotion opportunities and an equal employment environment for all employees

Its main products include PS labels, filmic anti-counterfeiting labels, RFID tags and anti-bacterial wrapping papers which
are widely applied in footwear, clothing, luggage, furniture, cosmetics and other fields. The company has accumulated more than 80 patents.

To better understand market needs and trends, Miao remains in constant communication with suppliers and customers and listens to their opinions and suggestions. ‘This not only allows us to better meet the needs of our customers but also gives us new ideas and sparks creativity.’

All this work has led the BSN Group to be considered one of China’s leading label converters. In 2023, the total revenue of
the group exceeded 1.8 billion RMB (250M USD).

‘In 2024, we will pay more attention to the general trends of the industry, such as digital and sustainable development,’ she says. ‘While serving customers well, we will enhance the company’s overall market competitiveness, and continue to strive to become a ‘global one-stop supply chain platform’ for label and packaging solutions.’


Rongzhong invests in Durst Tau RSCi South China-based converter Rongzhong has invested in the first Durst Tau RSCi in the region to improve its productivity, efficiency and print quality.

As a company dedicated to printing, paper tapes, labels and various high-end cultural and creative products, Rongzhong’s investment in Durst not only highlights its pursuit of product quality and production efficiency but also reflects its leading position in the industry.

Wan Xinke, chairman of Rongzhong, said: ‘I am very excited about the installation of Durst Tau RSCi. This important investment not only marks a significant enhancement of our company’s technological strength but also symbolizes the further consolidation of our leading position in the relevant printing fields.

‘Durst’s Tau RSCi represents the forefront of digital printing technology, and its outstanding performance and leading technology fully align with our commitment to product quality and innovation. With this printer, we look forward to providing customers with more precise, efficient and high-quality printing solutions to meet the market’s continuous pursuit of high-quality products.


Yolanda Wang

  • China editor