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Dimon says he regrets comment on JPMorgan outlasting China Communist Party

Stock MarketsNov 24, 2021 11:55PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Jamie Dimon, chairman & CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co., testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo 2/2

By Scott Murdoch and Matt Scuffham

HONG KONG/NEW YORK (Reuters) -JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said on Wednesday he regretted his remarks that the Wall Street bank would last longer than China's Communist Party (CPC), moving quickly to avoid any longer-term fallout.

Dimon's comments had risked jeopardizing JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM)'s growth ambitions in China where it won regulatory approval in August to become the first full foreign owner of a securities brokerage in the country.

China experts in the United States said his quick apology should ensure no serious damage was done.

"I regret and should not have made that comment. I was trying to emphasize the strength and longevity of our company," Dimon said in a statement issued by the bank.

Dimon realized immediately after he made the comment that it was a mistake, according to a source familiar with his thinking. After seeing the reaction, he decided to express regret, the source said.

In a later statement, Dimon said: "It's never right to joke about or denigrate any group of people, whether it's a country, its leadership, or any part of a society and culture. Speaking in that way can take away from constructive and thoughtful dialogue in society, which is needed now more than ever."

Referring to the matter in a comment posted on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) on Thursday, the outspoken editor of nationalistic tabloid Global Times, Hu Xijin, said: "You don't have to regret actually.

"The CPC has succeeded in its sphere far more than JP Morgan's. As a member of the CPC, I don't mind your company riding the wave of CPC's popularity."

A day earlier, Hu said: "Think long-term! And I bet the CPC will outlast the USA."

Speaking at a Boston College series of CEO interviews on Tuesday, Dimon 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. They are probably listening anyway," he added.

Beijing's approval for JPMorgan to take full ownership of its securities business was a milestone in the opening of China's capital markets after years of gradual moves and pressure from Washington.

Beijing sees the involvement of foreign banks as important for China's domestic financial development, academics say. However, they add, Western companies doing business in China still need to tread carefully.

"Dimon's apology shows the degree of deference foreign businesses have to show to the Chinese government in order to remain in its good graces and maintain access to the country’s markets," said Eswar Prasad, a professor at Cornell University.

"I don't think this will have any longer term consequences," said Leland Miller, chief executive at data firm China Beige Book and an expert on China's financial system.

Asked by Bloomberg about Dimon's comments at a news conference on Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian replied: "Why the publicity stunt with some grandstanding remarks?," according to an English language transcript of the remarks https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/2511_665403/t1919627.shtml.

BACKLASH

Global executives typically choose their words carefully when discussing China, where foreign companies have occasionally been subject to backlash for perceived offenses.

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

Earlier this year, Swedish fashion giant H&M's and U.S.-based Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) faced a backlash from Chinese state media and ecommerce platforms after expressing concern about allegations forced labour had been used to produce cotton in Xinjiang.

"The Chinese government has amply demonstrated its willingness to curb or in some cases shut down foreign businesses' operations in the country if they challenge the government openly or even engage in perceived or indirect slights," said Cornell's Prasad.

A week ago Dimon was granted an exemption by the Hong Kong government to visit the Chinese-controlled financial hub without needing to quarantine.

Visitors to the city from most countries must stay in hotel quarantine for two to three weeks at their own cost.

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

"Jamie Dimon's best and worst trait is that he speaks his mind," said Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) analyst Mike Mayo.

"It typically works well for him and makes him more authentic and appreciated by investors. But sometimes it gets him into trouble."

Dimon says he regrets comment on JPMorgan outlasting China Communist Party
 

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Comments (14)
David David
David9 Nov 25, 2021 12:19AM ET
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I told you guys... this dude does not understand how the world works outside of the US...he has never traveled outside the US...
Fong SH
Fong SH Nov 24, 2021 9:46PM ET
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Never mixed investments with politics, companies should stay away from politics as you are answerable to shareholders as a public listed company. CEOs are not part of the political board, thus, should refrain from commenting on how the government runs the country.
James Pattison
James Pattison Nov 24, 2021 8:50PM ET
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Hes got no marbles
Oldfashioned Owl
Oldfashioned Owl Nov 24, 2021 11:44AM ET
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Its an investment to start learning Mandarin.
Bev Mcguffee
Bev Mcguffee Nov 24, 2021 11:29AM ET
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Jamie Dimon is a highly intelligent CEO of JPM.  He makes statements, along with retractions, purposefully.  These purposes seem to be thoughtfully co-mingled to profit, prestige and power.
zeca barreira
zeca barreira Nov 24, 2021 10:30AM ET
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I do not regret his words... I regret the fear a leader of a great institution feels about Chinese government for... no reason! Shame! China is a great country, made of great people, slaved by a dictatorial government that is trying to expand his tentacles all over the world and... the world folds behind their dictatorial money. Shame!
James Pattison
James Pattison Nov 24, 2021 10:30AM ET
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Perfectly stated…
Unicorn Dream
Unicorn Dream Nov 24, 2021 10:25AM ET
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Arrogance never makes good ending in leadership as written in history. Above all, he is not JP Morgan. He is just an employee who is titled as CEO. What a shame.
rod shute
rod shute Nov 24, 2021 10:19AM ET
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never speak disrepectfully about another country or its leadership? Like N*A*Z*I Germany?
rod shute
rod shute Nov 24, 2021 8:55AM ET
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never speak disrespectfully about another country or its leadership? Like *****Germany?
James Pattison
James Pattison Nov 24, 2021 8:53AM ET
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I love the people of china… they are great honest hard working people… thier government does not behave with these characteristics… they are the worst representitive of thier great people… embarrasing
John Avenetti
John Avenetti Nov 24, 2021 8:48AM ET
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he was a sellout before he was a sellout.
Mox Mox
Mox Mox Nov 24, 2021 8:47AM ET
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That's why i do not want to be a CEO. You need to be immoral and have very little honor and respect for yourself and others
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Nov 24, 2021 8:47AM ET
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Only if you’re a CEO in a government run industry.
Mox Mox
Mox Mox Nov 24, 2021 8:47AM ET
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Roger Miller  yes. you're right. that's what i meant to say. thx. government run or dependent on the government somehow
taylor jason
taylor jason Nov 24, 2021 8:37AM ET
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dimon is scared of censored in China
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Nov 24, 2021 8:35AM ET
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Its amazing the power of CCP
By designe
Bydesigne Nov 24, 2021 8:35AM ET
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You cant play politics with a billion people. It doesn't work.
 
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