The paper analyses business networks originating from three markets: Chinese, Russian, and West European. So far, little attention has been given to the fact that business networks in particular markets may be dissimilar because of differences among institutions. The paper advances a model where institutions are assumed to influence five major characteristics of business; (1) the processual aspects of the network, (2) the structural aspects of the network, (3) the function of firms and relationships in the network, (4) the meaning of strategy and planning, and (5) social relationships in the context of inter-firm relationships. The analysis builds on three types of substances of institutions - cognitive, normative, and regulative, which in turn are specified according to different aspects. The cognitive substance of business networks is explored through the aspects of self, time, and causality. The normative substance is explored through the aspects of achieved versus ascribed status, inner versus outer direction, universalism versus particularism, and trust. The regulative substance is specified as an authority system and a sanction system. The analysis demonstrates that, as institutions differ in these three markets, the business among them also differs in terms of the five characteristics, and this variation calls for different strategies for firms operating in these markets.