Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan, has apologized for claiming that his Wall Street firm will outlast China’s Communist Party.
The remarks, delivered at a US event, infuriated Chinese officials, who warned that they may jeopardize the bank’s aspirations in the nation.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Mr Dimon said, “I apologize and should not have made that comment.”
He went on to say that he was merely attempting to “emphasize the bank’s strength.”
The rapid apologies, according to academics, was intended to mitigate the repercussions.
JP Morgan received clearance in August to become China’s first complete foreign owner of a securities firm.
Mr Dimon made his initial remarks on Tuesday at Boston College, where he was participating in a series of interviews with CEOs.
“I joked the other day that the Communist Party, like JPMorgan, is celebrating its 100th year,” he remarked.
“I’m willing to gamble that we’ll last longer,” he said at the gathering. “That’s something I can’t say in China. They’re most likely listening anyhow “Added he.
It drew a fast response, with Hu Xijin, editor of the state-owned Global Times newspaper, tweeting: “Consider the long term! And I’m willing to bet that the CPC [Chinese Communist Party] will outlast the United States.”
“Why the PR stunt with some grandstanding remarks?” questioned Zhao Lijian, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, during a news conference on Wednesday.
“I regret my recent statement because it’s never acceptable to laugh about or criticize any group of people, whether it’s a country, its leadership, or any component of a society and culture,” Mr Dimon said on Wednesday.
“Speaking in that manner can detract from society’s constructive and intellectual discussion, which is required today more than ever.”
When mentioning China, global leaders usually select their words carefully, since international corporations have occasionally faced blowback for perceived transgressions.
In 2019, Swiss firm UBS found itself in hot water when a statement made by one of its senior economists regarding food inflation and swine disease was misconstrued as a racial slur.
UBS lost a valuable financial deal with a state-backed customer when he was banned for three months.
After voicing worry over reports of forced labor in Xinjiang, Swedish fashion company H&M and US-based Nike experienced backlash from Chinese state media and ecommerce sites earlier this year.
Mr Dimon’s quick apologies, according to Cornell University professor Eswar Prasad, was intended to limit any harm.
“Dimon’s apology demonstrates the level of respect that international enterprises must show the Chinese government in order to keep access to the country’s markets,” he added.