Lea Schneidemesser

Lea Schneidemesser is currently a research associate at the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Sciences at the University of Erfurt and at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society. She previously studied sociology at the Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena with study and research stays in Wuhan, Hangzhou, and Guangzhou. Lea Schneidemesser works on topics in the area of economic, labour and industrial sociology with a regional focus on Germany and China. Her dissertation examines the strategic importance of data and digital technologies (Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, platforms, etc.) for Chinese direct investments in Germany and Europe.

A picture of Lea Schneidemesser.

Research project

In the junior research team "Clash or Convergence of Capitalisms" (JRT02), Lea Schneidemesser investigates the ownership conflicts resulting from takeovers of German companies by Chinese investors. The focus here is on the metal and electronics industry, but also on paradigmatic conflicts that have provoked political reactions in Germany and at the EU level. Through conducting case studies on companies receiving Chinese investment in Germany, as well as the Chinese parent companies’ headquarters in China, she explores the implications of this transfer of ownership for both sides. Will the German subsidiaries be marginalized within the Chinese parent company’s network though the transfer of intellectual property? Or will new synergy effects emerge? Are there any effects on R&D and labour relations within the German subsidiary?



  • Schmalz, S.; Schneidemesser, L.; Xu, H. (2024): “An emerging 'China-threat-corporatism'? CRRC's acquisition of a German locomotive company and its impact on labour relations", In: European Journal of Industrial Relations. https://doi.org/10.1177/09596801231226421
  • Schmalz, Stefan; Gräf, Helena; Köncke, Philipp; Schneidemesser, Lea (2022): “Umkämpfte Globalisierung: Amerikanische und europäische Reaktionen auf Chinas Aufstieg im Hochtechnologiebereich”, In: Berliner Journal für Soziologie 32(3) , 427–54. DOI: 10.1007/s11609-022-00481-x.
  • Schneidemesser, Lea; Butollo, Florian (2022): “Alibaba’s Distribution-Driven Approach towards the Industrial Internet: A Chinese Version of Industry 4.0?”, In: G. Gereffi, P. Bamber, and K. Fernandez-Stark (eds.) China’s New Development Strategies: Moving Up and Moving Abroad in Global Value Chains, Palgrave-Macmillan, 61-83.
  • Butollo, Florian; Schneidemesser, Lea (2022): “Who Runs the Show in Digitalized Manufacturing? Data, Digital Platforms and the Restructuring of Global Value Chains”, In: Global Networks 22(4), 595-614. DOI: 10.1111/glob.12366.
  • Butollo, Florian; Schneidemesser, Lea (2021): “Beyond “Industry 4.0”: B2B factory networks as an alternative path towards the digital transformation of manufacturing and work”, In: International labour review 160(4), 537-552. DOI: 10.1111/ilr.12211.
  • Schneidemesser, Lea (2021): “Fabriknetzwerk statt vernetzte Fabrik. Wie Alibaba die chinesische Konsumgüterindustrie digitalisiert”, In: WZB-Mitteilungen. Verfügbar unter: https://www.wzb.eu/de/publikationen/wzb-mitteilungen/digitalisierung-ein-neues-heft-der-wzb-mitteilungen/fabriknetzwerk-statt-vernetzte-fabrik.
  • Schmalz, Stefan; Schneidemesser, Lea (2019): “The End of the German Model? The Transformation of German Capitalism and Fragmented Labour Relations”, In: Schmalz, Stefan/ Sommer, Brandon (eds.): Confronting Crisis and Precariousness: Organised Labour and Social Unrest in the European Union, Rowman&Littlefield, London/New York, 151-168.


  • Schneidemesser, L: An Emerging China Threat Corporatism? Chinese Brownfield Investments with Industrial Policy Implications, Seminar Series “The world at present – scholars international research”, No. 14, Shanghai University, Institute of Economic Sociology and Multinationals, Shanghai (5.1.2024)
  • Schneidemesser, L.: Chinese OFDI in Europe amid Digitalization –Beyond Huawei and Tiktok, what access to data can be gained by Chinese investors in Europe?, SASE Annual Conference 2023, Rio de Janeiro (20. bis 22.7.2023)
  • Schneidemesser, L.: An Emerging China Threat Corporatism? CRRC’s Acquisition of a German Locomotive Company and Its Impact on Labour Relations, CHERN Workshop “China’s global state capitalism from the ground-up”, Ljubljana (8.6.2023)
  • Schneidemesser, L.: Data-Driven Chinese OFDI in Europe? How Chinese Technology Companies are Internationalizing in the European Union, ASC (Arbeitskreis Sozialwissenschaftliche Chinaforschung) Conference 2022, Wien (3.-4.11.2022)
  • Schneidemesser, L.: Data as new intangibles? Theoretical cornerstones for an understanding of the role of data in GVC, SASE Virtual Conference „After Covid? Critical Conjunctures and Contingent Pathways of Contemporary Capitalism“ (5.7.2021)