Nov 24, 2021 - Economy & Business

JPMorgan CEO walks back joke about Chinese Communist Party

JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon in Paris in June 2021.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon in Paris in June 2021. Photo: Michel Euler/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon walked back a recent critique of the Chinese Communist Party on Wednesday, saying he regrets joking that the bank will outlast the party in China.

Driving the news: Speaking at the Boston College Chief Executives Club Tuesday, Dimon noted that JPMorgan's Chinese operations and the CCP were both celebrating their 100th year anniversary in 2021 and said he would bet that the bank would outlive the party, according to Bloomberg.

  • "The Communist Party is celebrating its 100th year. So is JPMorgan. And I’ll make you a bet we last longer,” Dimon said, recalling a joke he told on a recent trip to Hong Kong, per Bloomberg.
  • "I can't say that in China. They are probably listening anyway," he added.

What they're saying: “I truly regret my recent comment because 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," Dimon said in a statement issued by the bank.

  • "Speaking in that way can take away from constructive and thoughtful dialogue in society, which is needed now more than ever," he added.

Of note: Dimon warned on "Axios on HBO" last month that global companies must be selective about issues in China that they publicly dive into, even ones as stark as China's treatment of Uyghurs.

  • "We do business in 100 countries," Dimon told Axios CEO Jim VandeHei. "But I've made it very clear: We believe in human rights. We believe in free enterprise. We believe in the capitalist system. That's all counter to China."

The big picture: JPMorgan has been operating in China since 1921 and has branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Harbin, Suzhou and Shenzhen.

  • It recently gained approval from Beijing to become the first foreign owner of a securities brokerage in China, according to Reuters.

Go deeper: JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon on China, his salary and racial equity

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a new statement from Jamie Dimon released by JPMorgan.

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