According to the resource dependence theory, the survival and development of enterprises are closely related to the external environment. As one of the important external environments faced by enterprises, business environment exerts widespread effects on corporate behaviors, and it also affects the asset-light strategy mode theoretically. As a new commercial operation mode, asset-light strategy is gradually favored by academic community and practice field, but the driving force behind it has not been examined empirically for a long time. The improvement of business environment can provide a good market, legal and financial environment for asset-light strategy, which reduces the cost of maintaining external relations. Meanwhile, it also decreases the risk and cost of R&D and marketing investment, so enterprises have more motivations to invest more capital in the development of core competence such as R&D and marketing. With the development of corporate soft power, it will induce asset-light strategy level enhancement. However, there is little empirical literature with regard to the relationship between business environment and asset-light strategy, so it is of important theoretical value and practical significance to test the impact of business environment on asset-light strategy.
Based on the above, this paper takes A-share listed companies in the Chinese capital market from 2009 to 2018 as the sample, and uses the econometric model to test how business environment influences asset-light strategy. The research results show that: Business environment has a significant positive impact on asset-light strategy, which is reflected that the improvement of business environment will result in asset-light strategy level enhancement. The results are still robust after a series of tests such as instrumental variable method, de capacity policy influence and variable re-measurement. Furthermore, this paper analyzes the internal mechanism of the above positive impact, and finds that business environment promotes asset-light strategy by improving R&D capability and marketing capability. Further different contextual analysis shows that the positive impact of business environment on asset-light strategy is more significant in enterprises with more intense equity incentive, but weakens in state-owned enterprises. The conclusion of this paper provides new empirical support for the relationship between business environment and asset-light strategy; meanwhile, it also provides certain inspiration value for commercial mode choice.