Foreign Policy touches on some of the economic aspects that are not always discussed elsewhere. The GDP per capita is actually higher than in many comparable regions; there is also a far higher degree of centralization than elsewhere too. The article provides a basis for understanding many of the "trophy buildings" I saw on my visit to the mainland... the decisionmakers in the party are approached by those who see contracts available, and so the business sense of the deal may not play as large a role as the personal relationships involved.
"Political power has become more valuable because it can be converted into wealth and privilege unimaginable in the past. At the moment, China’s economic growth is having a perverse effect on democratization: It makes the ruling elite even more reluctant to part with power."
Business bankruptcies significantly exceed the norm. Investments are profitable for the few, not the many. The author suggests that the rate of this behavior may increase, as time runs out for the ability to direct that wealth.