Before jumping into the topic of the oldest companies in the world, Let’s talk about the lifespans of today’s business first. According to a study, the average lifespan of larger companies is around 10 years while the lifespan of small private businesses is 8.5 years. According to another study, companies listed on S&P 500 mostly live around only 15 years. So, for the companies that have been running for hundreds of years, there must be something amazing about them.
To be considered in the list of the oldest companies in the world:
• The company must be operational
• It’s existing for more than 200 years
• These companies should not be religious, educational, or government organizations
According to the research, there are 5,586 such organizations in the world that are running for more than 200 years. Remarkably, the majority of the oldest companies still in business are situated in Japan. There are 3146 old organizations in Japan and it’s 56 % of the total oldest companies still in business. Other oldest companies’ stats are 15 % in Germany, 4 % in Netherlands, and 3 % in France. Considering the fact in mind that the world had always gone through the test of times, the standing of these oldest companies through disasters, wars, natural destruction, and times of empires fall are not less than a miracle.
Top ten oldest companies still in business today:
Following are the top ten oldest companies in the world that are still operating:
- Kongo Gumi
- Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan
- Hoshi Ryokan
- Genda Shigyo
- Staffelter Hof
- Monnaie de Paris
- The Royal Mint
- Nakamura Shaji
Kongo Gumi is the oldest company established in 578 AD in Japan. It is a construction company and its headquarters are situated in Osaka, Japan. Kongo Gumi was founded when Prince Shotoku started the project to construct the Shitenno-ji Buddhist temple. It was a family-owned company that continued to run for over 1400 years. In 2006, downfall came and Kongo Gumi became a subsidiary of another construction group named Takamatsu.
For many years, Kongo Gumi played its role in the construction of many renowned buildings like Osaka Castle. Before becoming a subsidiary, Kongo Gumi generated annual revenue of $ 70 million with employees not more than 100. Until today it’s still an expert in constructing Buddhist temples. According to the research, Kongo Gumi has the longest history among Japanese companies.
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan:
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, a hot spring hotel, started in 705 AD. It is founded by Fujiwara Mahito and it lies at the bottom of the Akaishi Mountains, in Hayakawa, Japan. According to the Guinness Book of Records, in 2011 it was stated as the world’s oldest hotel.
For over 1300 years it has been run by 52 same family generations continuously. It has 37 rooms, moon- viewing sites and its hot water came directly from Hakuho Springs. In 1977, Keiunkan underwent a renovation but its traditional architectural style remained preserved.
Koman is the third oldest company in the world, established in 707 AD. It is a traditional Japanese hotel located in Kinosaki, Onsen, Toyooka City, Japan. Koman is the second oldest hotel in Japan and was founded by Gonnokami Hiuke. Later on, descendants of Gonnokami Hiuke established bathhouses in Kinosaki Onsen. Koman was run by over 46 generations continuously.
The fourth oldest company in the world is Hoshi Ryokan which is a Japanese traditional hotel. It was started in 718 AD and it is the third oldest hotel in Japan. It is situated in the Awazu Onsen of Komatsu, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. Previously it was considered as the oldest hotel in the world but later on, it was realized that Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is the oldest hotel as it was established in 705 AD. Even after 1300 years of Hoshi Ryokan, it was still run by the Hoshi family and passed to its 46 generations.
Genda Shigyo founded in 771 AD, is fifth in the list of oldest companies still in business. It is a paper production organization that produces ceremonial paper goods in Japan. Genda Shigyo moved its headquarters to Kyoto, Japan in 794 AD. Now, its offices are located between the Nijo Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace. Genda Shigyo is an expert in the making mizuhiki, colorful paper twisted cords, which are used in various events such as weddings.
Staffelter Hof is the sixth oldest company in the world, established in 862 AD. It is located in Krov, Bernkastel-Wittlich district, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is a family-run company consists of a distillery, winery, and guest house. There are six apartments and four double rooms in the guest house, which was established in 1960.
Monnaie de Paris:
Monnaie de Paris also known as Paris Mint, started in 864, is the world’s oldest mint company. Initially, Monnaie de Paris created coins only for France, but after joining with the European Union mint switched over to produce Euros. Hence, it has produced many different types of currencies including German currency. Its building is now consisting of a museum, mint workshops, residential quarters, and administrative rooms. Monnaie de Paris is also the home of many ancient coins. After five years of renovation, its museum Musee du Conti was reopened for the public in 2017.
Tanaka-Iga is numbered eighth among the oldest companies in the world and is founded in 885. It is the oldest Buddhist goods producing company, including the production of butsudan shrines. An Interesting thing about Tanaka-Iga is that it is too old that it was established at the time near to the time of Buddha (Siddartha Gautama). It is located at Manjuji Nishinotoin, Shimogyo-ku, in the city of Kyoto, Japan.
The Royal Mint:
Royal Mint, now known as The Royal Mint Limited, is a government-owned corporation, that produces currency. It is established in 886 and is one of the oldest mint companies in the world. Initially, it was within the Tower in London, after about 800 years it was moved to the Royal Mint Court. In 1960 Royal Mint moved to 38 acres plant in Wales and it’s still there. It not only produces coins but also produces medals, precious metal bullion, commemorative coins, and planchets. Currently, Royal Mint produces around 5 billion coins per year.
Nakamura Shaji is one of the oldest companies still in business and is founded in 970. It is a construction company situated in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. It is the second oldest construction company in Japan. Nakamura Shaji is specialized in carving and woodworking and is an expert in the construction of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.