Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co., made a casual remark on Tuesday about the American banking giant’s ability to outlast China’s Communist Party days after making a stormy trip to China’s financial hub, Hong Kong, with a government travel exemption.
“I was just in Hong Kong and made a joke about the Communist Party celebrating its centenary. Just like JPMorgan. I would bet we will last longer, ”said Mr Dimon, according to a video taped by The Wall Street Journal.
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“I can’t say that in China. They’re probably listening anyway,” added the 65-year-old banker veteran with a laugh.
Mr. Dimon made the comments during an event at Boston College in response to a public question about doing business in China. He also commented on other sensitive issues, including the political situation in Taiwan and the freedoms in Hong Kong, a former British colony that has come under Beijing’s grip. His remarks were previously reported by Bloomberg.
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On Wednesday afternoon in Beijing, Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, avoided a question about Mr. Dimon’s remarks during a daily press conference and dismissed media coverage in an attempt to attract readers.
“‘I was just in Hong Kong and made a joke about the Communist Party celebrating its centenary. So is JPMorgan. I bet we’ll last longer.” “
– Jamie Dimon
A JPMorgan spokesman declined to comment.
JPMorgan has tried to gain a deeper foothold in the world’s second largest economy. The bank was the first among its Wall Street counterparts to get Chinese regulators to take full control of the country’s securities and futures businesses. It seeks a 100 percent stake in an asset management joint venture that, if approved, would make JPMorgan the first overseas bank to have a full suite of wholly owned units in China covering key financial businesses.
JP Morgan Asset Management also reached an agreement in March to buy 10% of the lucrative asset management unit of China Merchants Bank Co.
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Last week, the China Securities Regulatory Commission provided feedback on JPMorgan’s motion to take full control of its onshore asset management business and asked 11 additional questions about the transaction, according to a statement on the commission’s website.
These included questions about how JPMorgan plans to manage the flow of data across borders after it takes full control of the company and what justifies the high price the American bank pays for the stake.
The securities regulator also urged JPMorgan to correct a discrepancy between the Chinese and English versions of the bank’s filing about the proposed deal in different currencies, the statement said in its statement. JPMorgan will pay up to $ 1 billion for the 49% stake, according to the regulator.
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Last week, Mr. Dimon traveled to Hong Kong, where the New York-based bank has a sizable presence and approximately 4,000 employees. It was his first trip to the city since the coronavirus pandemic began, and the CEO skipped a three-week hotel quarantine that most U.S. comers have to go through. After his 32-hour visit caused controversy, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam defended the government’s decision to grant Mr. Dimon a waiver.
In Boston on Tuesday, when asked about tensions between China and Taiwan, Dimon said that any action against the self-governing island could be akin to the US’s costly and deadly conflict with Vietnam.
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“They are very smart people. Hopefully this won’t be a problem,” he said.
The New York-born manager also reserved a punch line for his own country. “They see us now as some kind of incompetent nation,” said Dimon, referring to China’s view of the US Capitol as an example.
Mr Dimon also referred to former President Donald Trump. “I hate a lot of the things Trump has said,” he said after saying that Trump was right about issues in areas such as intellectual property and bilateral investment rights.
“He got business support because it was time to do something about it,” he said. “What we need, however, is a very detailed strategic economic dialogue that includes trade and all these other things, apart from foreign policy.”
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“The other thing is, JPMorgan can’t go and go in and out of a country every time we like or dislike something the government is doing,” Dimon said. “Damn it, I’d leave America right?”