I'll have to read the entire book later when I can, but for now, I've read chapter 7 ("Britain and Latin America" by Alan Knight) of the book you've referenced through a preview online, and that chapter does provide the sort of details I was asking about.Well, there's things like this to check out:
British Policy, Trade, and Informal Empire in the Mid-Nineteenth Century - Oxford Scholarship
The operative concept is "informal empire". The volume of the British informal empire in the first half of 19th c.through banking and finance was larger than the formal empire. Essentially it was British industry and finance at its relative peak as a cut of the global GDP. There were massive profits from British industralisation that were invested globally. (Almost all railroads in South America were British-financed fx.) And yes, part of the drive to formal empire, when the pink bits really started to race away of the world map late in the 19th c., was due to the British informal empire finding new challenges from European rivals starting to catch up, and so the arrangements of dependency through banking and finance did in parts switch to direct, formal empire.
Which is where the possible analogies with China's return as one of the real movers and shakers of the world become pertinent. It's ain't JUST the formal empires that can do the job. Restraint and not getting too "creative" might be a good idea. Or not, since it's about profits anyway.
However, the issue is that there still was no transition to "direct, formal empire" in South America in those areas. In fact, Knight mentions that "As British trade and investment grew, British interference and intervention declined" and he ends the chapter by noting that by the early 20th century Britain had "renounced political intervention" and didn't have "the political privileges which were the rewards of Formal Empire" in Latin America.
So even if the comparison between what Britain did in Latin America in the 19th century and what China is doing in parts of the developing world now really is apt, why believe that the alleged dependency will lead to formal empire?