Oldest Companies in the World

Published: 2017-03-06

This week we look at the oldest companies that still exist. The list of oldest companies is very long and it goes back to before 1300 year. 

We looked for the oldest one we could find and the year that was incorporated was 578 AD. The name was Kongō Gumi Co., Ltd. family owned Japanese construction company and it was the oldest ongoing independent company with headquarters in Osaka. It was actually skilled immigrant Kongo Gumi whom Prince Shotoku invited from Baekje to Japan to build for him, He then decided to start his own business. How for so many years they managed to keep the original name? It was often sons in law that joined and took the Kongo family name, there are traces that there was 40 generations going back to the company’s start. Kongō Gumi Co., Ltd. was operating for over 1,400 years until became subsidiary of Takamasu in 2006. The latest president 39th lead to Kongo company was Masakazu Kongo. Before its liquidation, it had over 100 employees and annual revenue of 7.5 billion JPY (Japanese yen)($70 million)so that is around £31.5 million.

What is the England oldest company that we could find? 
It is actually a pub that is the oldest English company we found. The Bingley Arms is a public house located in Bardsey Leeds, England. Was originally named The Priests Inn and the history dating back to between AD 905 and AD 953 so that’s 1112 years ago. The Bingley Arms (previously The Priests Inn) served as safe house for Persecuted Catholic priests was also a court house from around AD 1000 from which offenders were taken to the pillory across the road. It was featured in 2005 book review discussion on the invention of traditional public house history “Great Pub Myths” The Bingley Arms Claims to be the oldest pub in Britain.

What are statistics? Bank of Korea in 2008 published report investigating 41 countries. It found 5,586 companies older than 200 years. Of this 3146 are in Japan, 837 in Germany, 222 In the Netherlands and 196 in France. Of companies with more than 100 Years of history 89.4 percent employ fewer than 300 people. What we can read is that in 2009 a nationwide Japanese survey counted more than 21,000 companies older than 100 years.

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