JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is leaning back on his wisdom that the Wall Street giant overcame the Chinese Communist Party.
“The Communist Party is celebrating its 100th year – as well as JPMorgan,” Dimon said in a speech at Boston College on Tuesday. “I bet we’ll stay longer.”
At the time, Dimon admitted that irony could cause controversy. “I wouldn’t say that in China,” Dimon added. “They’re probably asking anyway.”
However, as of Wednesday morning, the 65-year-old banker – who visited Hong Kong last week – was busy with damage control.
“I am sorry and should not make that comment. I was trying to emphasize the strength and longevity of our company,” Dimon said in a statement.
“I am sorry for my recent comment because it is never okay to make fun of or derogate about any group of people, whether it is the country, its leadership or any part of society and culture,” Dimon added. “Speaking that way can be far from a constructive and thoughtful conversation in society. It is needed more than ever before.”
At a press conference on Wednesday, Chinese official Zhao Lijian dismissed Dimon’s joke and said the news releases were just looking to make headlines with a “publicity stunt.”
Dimon’s comments came shortly after his whirlwind trip to Hong Kong, where the hard-charging Dimon was, which allowed him to leave the quarantine even when other cases broke out.
Hong Kong officials defended the exemption by stating that Dimon had “major business” in the country. He is the first major Wall Street executive to visit the nation after the coronavirus outbreak.
JPMorgan first entered China in 1921, the same year the Communist Party of the country was founded. In August, the bank granted permission from the Chinese government to take complete and independent ownership of its securities business. This is the first foreign bank to win this approval. JPMorgan is working on a deal to buy footage from China Merchants Bank.
Dimon reiterated JPMorgan’s commitment to operating in the country despite his long-standing tensions with the US. He said issues such as unfair trade practices should be addressed early on – but that trade relations with the country could not be cut because JP Morgan disagreed with the policy.