Totalitarianism is more efficient than democracies. See: South Korea, which exploded economically under a literal right-wing, former military dictator. The only reason North Korea didn't explode was because their economic backers were the fucking broke ass commies, otherwise they were big raw material and weapons exporters until the entire commie system of east-europe and asia collapsed. Meanwhile SK was a totalitarian system sucking on the teet of the US.
The inefficiency of "democratic" governments comes from the fact that there are a slew of opposing special interests represented in the government. Like what do you think will happen when you have muslim and jewish special interest groups sponsoring shit? Or digital/web service tech companies vs service providers.
It does also open them up to the problems of ineffective, dumb leaders though, so they're even more efficient at becoming a trainwreck. i.e. Venezuela.
China as it is has a relatively competent leadership and someone should've gotten tough on them decades ago. I'm not sure what Nixon was thinking, especially since even Japan and Korea, allies, literally swept several american industries out from under its feet as directed by their stronger, more hands on governments. Ironically, Korea also swiped electronics out from Japan after Japan did it to the US, which is where we are now. But now it's China's turn to get in on the action, and with their resources it'll be more devastating. Not just their manpower, but the fact that they have hands and leverage in most industries in most first world countries. Want cheap workers, cheap shit? Well people are dumb and indulgent, so they do.