JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, said on Wednesday that he regrets his remarks that the Wall Street bank will last longer than the Chinese Communist Party and act quickly to avoid any long-term effects.
Dimon’s remarks may jeopardize JPMorgan’s growth ambitions in China. The company obtained regulatory approval in China in August and became the country’s first fully foreign owner of a securities brokerage company. A Chinese expert in the United States said that his quick apology should ensure that no serious damage would be caused.
“I am sorry and should not make this kind of comment. I tried to emphasize the strength and longevity of our company,” Dimon said in a statement issued by the bank.
In a later statement, Dimon said: “It is wrong to joke or slander anyone, whether it is the country, the leadership, or any part of society and culture. Speaking in this way will deprive society of constructiveness. And thoughtful dialogue, which is needed more than ever.”
Dimon said in a series of CEO interviews at Boston College on Tuesday: “I made a joke a few days ago that the Communist Party is celebrating its 100th anniversary-so does JPMorgan Chase. I bet we can hold on longer.”
“I can’t say that in China. They may be listening anyway,” he added.
Beijing’s approval of JPMorgan Chase to fully own its securities business is a milestone in the opening of China’s capital market after years of gradual measures and pressure from Washington.
Scholars say that Beijing believes that the participation of foreign banks is important to China’s domestic financial development. However, they added that Western companies doing business in China still need to proceed with caution.
Cornell University professor Eswar Prasad (Eswar Prasad) said: “Dimon’s apology shows that foreign companies must show a certain degree of respect for the Chinese government in order to maintain their good demeanor and maintain their access to the Chinese market. Chance.”
“I don’t think this will have any long-term consequences,” said Leland Miller, chief executive of the data company China Beige Book and an expert on China’s financial system.
Dimon’s remarks triggered a reaction from Chinese commentators.
The editor-in-chief of the nationalist tabloid Global Times and China’s most outspoken reporter Hu Xijin said on Twitter: “Long-term consideration! I bet that the Chinese Communist Party will last longer than the United States.”
When asked by Bloomberg News about Dimon’s comments at a press conference on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian replied: “Why do the publicity stunts carry some grandstanding remarks?” According to the commentary’s English transcript.
Global executives usually choose their language carefully when discussing China. In China, foreign companies are occasionally strongly opposed because they are seen as offensive.
The Swiss bank UBS (UBS) was in trouble in 2019 after a senior economist’s remarks about food inflation and swine fever were interpreted as racist slander. He was suspended for three months and UBS lost an important role in the bond transaction for a state-backed client.
Earlier this year, the Swedish fashion giant H&M and the US-based Nike company faced strong opposition from Chinese state media and e-commerce platforms after expressing concerns about allegations of using forced labor to produce cotton in Xinjiang.
Prasad said: “The Chinese government has fully stated that if foreign companies openly challenge the government, or even participate in it deliberately or indirectly, it will curb or in some cases shut down foreign companies’ operations in China.”
A week ago, the Hong Kong government granted Dimon an exemption to travel to financial centers controlled by China without isolation.
Tourists from most countries must be quarantined in hotels for two to three weeks at their own expense.
After Dimon arrived in Hong Kong by private jet, he stayed in Hong Kong for 32 hours.
Wells Fargo analyst Mike Mayo said: “The best and worst feature of Jamie Dimon is that he speaks his mind.”
“It usually works for him, makes him more real, and is appreciated by investors. But sometimes it can get him into trouble.”