We argue that vertical interlocks in Chinese state-owned business groups are important mechanisms for coordination and information exchange between the apex firm and affiliated firms, and that they are also mechanisms for government owners of the business groups to exercise control. By combining resource dependence theory with elements from transaction cost economics and agency theory, we propose that the need for interlocks increases the higher the level of government ownership. The central government is therefore more likely to use vertical interlocks than the provincial governments, which again are more likely to use vertical interlocks than the municipal governments. We develop three hypotheses based on these arguments. A regression analysis of a hand-collected data set finds strong support for our hypotheses. Our results shed light on coordination and governance issues within the state-owned sector in China and on an important means for mitigating these issues used by the government owners and firms affiliated with state-owned groups.