Per Business Insider Iman Ghosh a map shows the oldest companies in the world and still operating. This map can be seen at authorchrisedwards.com
The oldest company in the world is Kongo Gumi, a temple construction company in Japan that was established in 578 AD and remained a family-run business until it became a subsidiary of another company in 2006.
According to a report published by the Bank of Korea in 2008 that looked at 41 countries, there were 5,586 companies older than 200 years. Of these, 3,146 (56%) are in Japan, 837 (15%) in Germany, 222 (4%) in the Netherlands, and 196 (3%) in France. Of the companies with more than 100 years of history, most of them (89%) employ fewer than 300 people. A nationwide Japanese survey counted more than 21,000 companies older than 100 years as of September 30, 2009.
The oldest existing company on the North American continent is the Mexican Mint , founded in 1534 in Mexico.
Sadly, the oldest surviving company in the United States is Shirley Plantation , founded in 1638. After more than 380 years, the descendants of the founder continue to manage the land and operate the farm. A part of the farm is open to the public, and the old buildings are said to retain the Queen Anne style architecture , which is rare in North America yet still a remembrance of past built on the back of slaves.
Canada’s Hudson’s Bay (founded 1670) was at the helm of the fur trade between European settlers and First Nations tribes—the two parties agreed on beaver pelts as a common, valuable trade standard. Hudson Bay continues today into expanded retail.
A majority of the worlds oldest companies originated in the Far East. A few highlights include:
The Oldest Companies Still Operating Today
Kongo Gumi, established in 578 AD, is the oldest, continually operating company in the world. Its headquarters are located in Osaka, Japan. This construction company was founded by an immigrant, who was commissioned by Prince Shotoku to build the Shitennō-ji Buddhist temple. Kongo Gumi was a family-run company for around 1,400 years until 2006, when the company struggled financially and became a subsidiary of Takamatsu. Before the merger, it employed over 100 individuals and had an annual budget of around $70 million. It continues to specialize in Buddhist temples today.
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan
The second oldest company in the world is Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, a hot spring hotel in Hayakawa, Japan. It was founded in 705 AD. In 2011, it was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s oldest hotel. This 37-room hotel has been managed for over 1,300 years by the same family. It is located near the Akaishi mountains and derives its hot water from the nearby Hakuho Springs.
Founded in 707 AD, the Koman Hotel is the third oldest company in the world. It is a ryokan or a traditional Japanese Hotel. It has communal baths and rooms with tatami mats. It was established by Gonnokami Hiuke, who was inspired to start the hotel after dreaming of four gods. In his dream, the gods told him he must live in that location to protect his family over the generations. He built a shrine dedicated to the Gods on the hotel’s premise. His descendants went on to open bathhouses In Kinosaki Onsen located nearby.
Hoshi Ryokan is another traditional Japanese hotel which was founded in 718 AD, making it the fourth oldest company in the world and the third oldest hotel. It is located in the Awazu Onse region of the Ishikawa prefecture in Japan. Management of this hotel has stayed in the same family for 46 generations.
Genda Shigyo, a ceremonial paper goods company, was founded in 771 AD. In 794, it moved its headquarters to Kyoto when the city became the capital of Japan. Today, its offices can be found between the Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijo Castle. This company specializes in mizuhiki, colorful paper twisted into cords. These cords are used at events such as funerals and weddings.
Stiftskeller St. Peter
Stiftskeller St. Peter is the 6th oldest company in the world and the first on the list to be located outside of Japan. This restaurant can be found in the city of Salzburg in Austria. It is the oldest restaurant in the world and the oldest company in Europe. Stiftskeller St. Peter was founded in 803 AD within the monastery of St. Peter’s Archabbey. The restaurant claims to have served several famous individuals over the last few centuries, including Christopher Columbus and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Chris Edwards is a recognized best selling author of Coach Robert Sepulveda The Early Days Book series and as the Author 90 Days to a Glass Half Full Lifestyle a positive living and daily affirmation book series available on Amazon