Managerial networking with political actors has long been recognized as a crucial co-option strategy to navigate the challenging institutional environment in emerging economies. However, we know much less about what drives the variation of political networking investment by private ventures. Drawing on resource dependence theory, we unpack the dyadic business-government relations and identify the key organizational and environmental factors that shape the power dependence relationships between private ventures and the government. By examining power imbalance and mutual dependence in this dyadic relationship and considering both the necessity and the capability of political networking, we develop hypotheses regarding the ways in which size-, connection-, and location-based dependencies affect firms’ political networking intensity. These hypotheses are tested through a unique survey of Chinese private ventures. Our study finds that political networking intensity (1) has an inverted U-shaped relationship with firm size, (2) is negatively associated with the presence of embedded political ties while positively associated with that of achieved political connections, and (3) is smaller when the focal firm is located in business development zones. This research bears rich implications for our understanding of corporate political activity in emerging economies from a resource dependence lens.