The past two decades have witnessed increasing use of the concept of 'bureaucratic capitalism' to explain various endemic problems in China, including corruption and social inequalities. Yet, scant attention has been paid to the rise of key bureaucratic capitalists and the state corporations under their control. Neither has there been adequate discussion of the recent form of bureaucratic capitalism in contradistinction to that of the previous forms evolving in the republican and early reform periods. In question therefore is a small circle of bureaucratic bourgeoisie who are children, close relatives or protégés of top political leaders. They have come to control key state-corporation apparatuses, and some of whom possess close ties with the military. In conclusion, the future implications of this emergent form of bureaucratic capitalism on Chinese politics will also be discussed. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.