Wall Street banking giant JPMorgan Chase has told some of its staff to ensure that they do not refer to Hong Kong, Macau or self-governing Taiwan as separate countries.
The bank’s supervisory analyst global manager, Stuart Marston, said in an email seen by Bloomberg that the regions should on first reference be Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan, China. JP Morgan has also added a note in its disclosures section to clarify usage.
Hong Kong and Macau are special administrative regions (SARs) within China, and Beijing also considers Taiwan part of its territory. Foreign companies doing business in China have been facing increasing pressure amid the country’s trade conflict with the United States and the protests in Hong Kong.
Global brands, including Versace and Givenchy, have been forced to apologize to China for identifying Hong Kong and Macau as separate countries. Millions of social media users across China blamed Western luxury companies for undermining the country’s sovereignty and called for boycotts.
JP Morgan has been actively pushing into China’s $43 trillion financial industry. The company wants to take advantage of the Chinese government’s efforts to open up the sector to foreign competition. The bank is so far the only US firm that has been granted approval to take a majority stake in an onshore Chinese securities joint venture.
JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon has vowed to bring “full force” to China as the financial opening progresses. The firm is also considering launching a private bank in China, according to the head of its Asian business.
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