JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon ‘Regrets’ China Joke

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., during a luncheon hosted by  Economic Club of Chicago in Chicago, Ill., on Nov. 22, 2017. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said on Wednesday that he regrets making a joke that the Wall Street institution would last longer than the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Dimon made the quip during a Boston College series of CEO interviews on Tuesday.

“We hope to be there for a long time,” he said. “I made a joke the other day that the communist party is celebrating its 100th year—so is JPMorgan. I’d make a bet that we last longer.

“I can’t say that in China. y are probably listening anyway.”

In a statement issued by the largest U.S. bank, Dimon expressed his regret for the wisecrack.

“I regret and should not have made that comment,” Dimon stated. “I was trying to emphasize the strength and longevity of our company.”

A JPMorgan spokesperson added that the chief executive understood that he should “never speak lightly or disrespectfully about another country or its leadership.”

“During the discussion, Jamie made clear China and its people are very smart and very thoughtful.”

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the CCP’s Global Pezou newspaper, replied on his Weibo account: “I bet the Chinese Communist Party will outlast the United States of America.”

incident comes one week after Dimon was given an exemption from quarantine by the Hong Kong government when he visited the CCP-controlled jurisdiction. He visited Hong Kong for 32 hours after arriving by private jet. Usually, all visitors to the city are mandated to stay in hotel quarantine for at least two weeks at their own expense.

JP Morgan sign at its Beijing office in this picture taken on Dec. 13, 2010. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

This is not the first time that Dimon has backtracked on comments critical of public officials.

In September 2018, Dimon revealed that he thought he could beat then-President Donald Trump in a presidential campaign because he is smarter than him. Right after these comments, Dimon issued a written statement, noting that he should have not said this and that he “wouldn’t make a good politician.”

Meanwhile, JPMorgan has maintained a significant presence in China after first establishing operations in 1921, the same year the CCP was born. JPMorgan has branches in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. Like its peers on Wall Street, the financial titan has ambitious investment plans in the world’s second-largest economy.

JPMorgan Bullish on China

JPMorgan Chase possesses approximately $20 billion of exposure in China, and the bank continues to add to its portfolio of holdings, and suite of products and services.

company has secured more market access in the Chinese economy this year. In August, JPMorgan received regulatory approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) to offer clients a broad array of investment and corporate banking services and asset management.

This made the investment juggernaut the first foreign owner of a brokerage in China.

Dimon has defended the firm’s expansion in China, telling Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” in August that the company is operating in this foreign market according to U.S. foreign policy. JPMorgan would stop expansion in China if U.S. policy mandates, he said.

“When we do something in a foreign country who follow American foreign policy, you may not believe this, but American foreign policy wants a JP Morgan to properly expand, to serve American companies, other companies,” Dimon explained.

“I’m a patriot way before I worry about any money or anything like that, or about JP Morgan per se.”

Many Wall Street firms have increased their footprint in China. This past summer, BlackRock became the first foreign asset manager of a wholly-owned business in China’s $3.6 trillion mutual fund industry, raising more than $1 billion for its Chinese market fund. In addition, Fidelity was approved to create a China mutual fund unit. Citi was also given the nod for a China fund custodian business.

“ time to position in the China market is right now,” said Lucy Liu, a portfolio manager for global emerging markets equities at BlackRock, at a briefing on Tuesday.

As Corporate America and Hollywood studios flood China with capital and tap into this lucrative market, many executives and prominent figures have been cautious about what they say.

An Apology Tour in China?

Many brands and stars have apologized or engaged in self-censorship to ensure their strong presence in China.

Earlier this year, Nike removed a line of limited-edition sports shoes in China after its Japanese designer supported protests in Hong Kong.

In May, wrestler-turned-actor John Cena apologized to China in a recorded video message after calling Taiwan a country. “I love and respect China and Chinese people. I’m very very sorry for my mistake.”

Actor John Cena attends an event in Miami, Fla., on Jan. 31, 2020. (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Marriott International had presented a customer questionnaire in 2018 that listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan as separate countries. As a result, China shut down its website, prompting the global hotel chain to backtrack immediately. In a statement, the company confirmed that it does not “support separatist groups that subvert the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China.” Marriott also posted an “eight-point rectification plan.”

Disney-owned studio Searchlight reportedly strong-armed a U.S. media outlet to remove a quote from Chinese director Chloe Zhao who criticized the CCP for “spreading lies everywhere.” comments prompted the regime to censor Zhao’s popularity and various accolades, including her multiple Oscars for her film “Nomadland.”

Despite routine political discussions, ESPN ordered staff members to refrain from talking about Hong Kong in the wake of controversies between the NBA and China.

From Mercedes-Benz to Apple to LinkedIn, corporations have erred on the side of caution regarding their internal policies toward China. se actions have garnered the attention of U.S. lawmakers.

“Corporate America needs to get more of a backbone,” Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio argued at a 2018 hearing on Tibet. “ ultimate way to stop the current Marxist cultural revolution among our corporate elite is to replace them with a new generation of business leaders who consider themselves Americans, not citizens of the world.”

Pezou : JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon ‘Regrets’ China Joke