JPMorgan Chase & Co
CEO Jamie Dimon told an audience he made a joke about his bank outlasting the Communist Party while in Hong Kong, according to a video seen by The Wall Street Journal.
“I was just in Hong Kong and I made a joke that the Communist Party is celebrating its hundredth year. So is JPMorgan. I’d make you a bet we last longer,” Dimon said in the video.
“I can’t say that in China. They probably are listening anyway,” he said while laughing, the newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Dimon recalled the moment in response to an audience question about doing business in China at an event Tuesday at Boston College.
“I regret and should not have made that comment,” Dimon said Wednesday. “I was trying to emphasize the strength and longevity of our company.”
Dimon traveled to Hong Kong last week. The bank has 4,000 employees there.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian sidestepped a question about Dimon’s remarks at a daily news conference in Beijing. and dismissed media reports of it as an attempt to draw readers.
Dimon’s trip to Hong Kong marked his first visit there since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. He did not take a three-week hotel quarantine that most arrivals from the U.S. have to complete, which stirred controversy. But Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam defended the decision to provide an exemption to Dimon.
A spokesman for JPMorgan told the newspaper that the company is committed to China, and that Dimon is aware that he “should not speak lightly or disrespectfully about another country or its leadership.” Dimon also said he supports a constructive economic dialogue with China, the spokesperson said.