JPMorgan CEO picks up Chinese Communist Party joke

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said on Wednesday he regretted his remarks that the Wall Street bank would outlast the Chinese Communist Party, acting quickly to avoid any long-term fallout.

Dimon’s comments risked jeopardizing JPMorgan’s growth ambitions in China, where it obtained regulatory approval in August to become the first full-fledged foreign owner of a securities brokerage firm in the country. Chinese experts in the United States said his quick apology should ensure that no serious damage has been done.

“I regret and should not have made this comment. I was trying to highlight the strength and longevity of our business, ”Dimon said in a statement released by the bank.

In a subsequent statement, Dimon said, “It is never fair to joke or denigrate a group of people, whether it is a country, its leaders or any part of a society and d ‘a culture. Talking in this way can interfere with a constructive and thoughtful dialogue in society, which is more necessary than ever. “

Speaking on Tuesday in a series of talks with the CEO of Boston College, Dimon said, “I made a joke the other day about the Communist Party celebrating its 100th anniversary – just like JPMorgan. I would bet we last longer.

“I can’t say that in China. They’re probably listening anyway, ”he added.

Beijing’s approval for JPMorgan to take full ownership of its securities business was a milestone in opening up Chinese capital markets after years of gradual movements and pressure from Washington.

Beijing considers the involvement of foreign banks to be important for China’s domestic financial development, according to academics. However, they add, Western companies doing business in China still need to be cautious.

“Dimon’s apology shows the degree of deference foreign companies must show to the Chinese government in order to stay in its good graces and maintain access to the country’s markets,” said Eswar Prasad, professor at the University. Cornell.

“I don’t think it will have any longer-term consequences,” said Leland Miller, managing director of data firm China Beige Book and an expert on the Chinese financial system.

JPMorgan obtained regulatory approval in August to become the first full-fledged foreign owner of a securities brokerage in China [File:Dylan Martinez/Reuters]

Dimon’s comments sparked a reaction from commentators in China.

The editor of the nationalist tabloid Global Times and also China’s most outspoken journalist, Hu Xijin, said on Twitter, “Think long term! And I bet the CPC will survive in the United States.

Asked by Bloomberg about Dimon’s comments at a press conference on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian replied, “Why the publicity stunt with some grandiose remarks? according to an English transcript of the remarks.

World leaders usually choose their words carefully when discussing China, where foreign companies have sometimes faced backlash for perceived infringements.

Swiss bank UBS ran into trouble in 2019, after a remark by one of its senior economists on food inflation and swine fever was interpreted as a racist insult. It was suspended for three months and UBS lost a leading role in a bond transaction for a state-backed client.

Earlier this year, Swedish fashion giant H&M and US-based Nike Inc faced a backlash from Chinese state media and e-commerce platforms after expressing concern over allegations that forced labor was allegedly forced to labor. been used to produce cotton in Xinjiang.

“The Chinese government has amply demonstrated its willingness to curb or, in some cases, shut down the operations of foreign companies in the country if they openly challenge the government or even engage in perceived or indirect slights,” Prasad said.

A week ago, Dimon obtained an exemption from the Hong Kong government to visit the Chinese-controlled financial center without needing to quarantine himself.

Visitors to the city from most countries are required to remain in hotel quarantine for two to three weeks at their own expense.

Dimon was in Hong Kong for 32 hours after arriving by private jet.

“The best and the worst trait of Jamie Dimon is that he says what he thinks,” said Mike Mayo, analyst at Wells Fargo.

“It generally works well for him and makes him more authentic and appreciated by investors. But sometimes it gets him in trouble.

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