Jamie Dimon, the JPMorgan Chase chief executive, joked that the Wall Street Bank would outlast the Chinese Communist party, while reiterating his commitment to expanding in the country.
“I made a joke the other day that the Communist party is celebrating its 100th year. So is JPMorgan. I’ll make a bet that we last longer,” he said on Tuesday, speaking at the Boston College Chief Executives Club, a business forum.
“I can’t say that in China. They are probably listening anyway,” said Dimon, who is also JPMorgan chair.
Leaders of global businesses that rely on operating in China for a large portion of revenues are typically cautious about commenting on Beijing. A number of foreign companies such as HSBC and law firm Mayer Brown have faced a backlash in China over perceived criticism.
In 2019, Swiss bank UBS was excluded from some Chinese state-backed deals after one of its economists made a comment about “pigs in China” that was perceived as a slur.
Dimon made the quip less than a week after he made a surprise one-day visit to Hong Kong, becoming the first Wall Street banking boss to come to the Chinese territory since the start of the pandemic.
JPMorgan has operated in China since 1921, the same year the communist party was founded. It has said that growth in China represents one of the largest opportunities for the bank and its clients.
Earlier this year, JPMorgan won approval from Chinese regulators to run a wholly owned investment bank in the country, which was a landmark moment for foreign banks’ access to China’s financial sector. It also operates asset and wealth management joint ventures in China.
A person close to the bank said Dimon, who has run JPMorgan since 2005 and is one of the most outspoken figures on Wall Street, was “trying to emphasise the longevity and strength of JPMorgan” and not criticise the Communist party. The bank declined to comment on its chief executive’s remarks.
Dimon’s visit to Hong Kong prompted some consternation that the chief executive was granted a rare exemption from the city’s strict quarantine rules. JPMorgan has since said it would compensate staff who have to quarantine up to $5,000.
Referring to tension between the US and China, Dimon said in Hong Kong that he was “not swayed by geopolitical winds” and that he believed world leaders would work out “rational” solutions.