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JPMorgan tells staff: Make it clear Hong Kong, Taiwan are part of China

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JPMorgan Chase & Co, which is in the process of building its presence in China, has told some staff to ensure that they don't refer to Hong Kong, Macau or self-governing Taiwan as separate countries.

[TAIPEI] JPMorgan Chase & Co, which is in the process of building its presence in China, has told some staff to ensure that they don't refer to Hong Kong, Macau or self-governing Taiwan as separate countries.

The regions should on first reference be Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan, China, Stuart Marston, supervisory analyst global manager, said in a recent email, which was seen by Bloomberg News. JPMorgan has also added a note in its disclosures section to clarify usage, according to the email. The language wasn't used in numerous prior research notes published over the past few months though reports in recent days are incorporating the changes.

Lisa Liang, a Beijing-based spokeswoman, declined to comment on content of the email.

International companies doing business in China face increasing pressure as unrest in Hong Kong and the trade war with the U.S. increase national sensitivities. A growing list of global brands, from Versace to Calvin Klein, have been forced to apologize in recent months after an army of Chinese internet users called them out for identifying one of the three as countries.

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Hong Kong and Macau are special administrative regions within China, and Beijing also considers Taiwan part of its territory. Independence-leaning Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has been vocal in her support for Hong Kong's protesters, and has seen her support ratings rebound since the movement began as voters on the island recoil at the scenes unfolding in Hong Kong.

JPMorgan has led its American rivals in pushing into China's US$43 trillion financial industry, seeking to take advantage of government efforts to open up the sector to foreign competition. It's so far the only US firm that has been granted approval to take a majority stake in an onshore Chinese securities joint venture.

Chief executive officer Jamie Dimon has vowed to bring JPMorgan's "full force" to the country as the financial opening progresses. The firm is also considering setting up a private bank in China, the head of its Asia business said in February.

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