A firm’s competitive advantage can come not only from internal resources but also from inter-firm innovation networks. This paper shows that network capabilities (i.e., network visioning capability, network constructing capability, network operating capability and network centring capability) are special skills that enable values residing in network resources. Based on a sample of 211 Chinese hi-tech firms and by applying structural equation modelling, network capabilities are found to have a positive relationship with innovation performance. Four antecedents of network capabilities – IT maturity, openness of culture, the management system involved and experience with network activities – are also identified in the research and empirically tested. The results of this study provide a new framework that describes how networked firms can gain a competitive advantage.