Do You Know What the World’s Oldest Company is?


Today, we’re so used to seeing the biggest companies in the world in our everyday lives. From major tech firms like Microsoft, Apple, and Google, to major clothing & cosmetics lines like Adidas, Ralph Lauren, and Chanel. 

Osaka Castle in Osaka, Japan@Shutterstock

They are seen by many people as among the largest companies in the world, alongside giant retailers such as Target. Entertainment wise, we’ve got the likes of FOX and Disney. However, did you know that none of these companies come even close to being the oldest in the world?

With the average lifespan of a company estimated to be the 20-year mark, going on for a long time is very rare. While some companies do manage to last for decades, even centuries, some manage to last for millennia. 

It’s all about making intelligent choices and building something that can actually survive. Thanks to an investigation by, we now have a rough idea of who is the oldest still-active company in the world.

Building for the Future Generations

The oldest company in the world today is a Japanese company that launched as far back as 578AD. The company is called Kongo Gumi, and it has been in the business of building temples for around 1,500 years.


That makes it a good bit older than the United States, and certainly older than many new nations that exist today.

The company was so strong back in the day due to the prevalence of building temples back in this era. The Japanese royals decided they want to build more Buddhist temples, and they joined forces with Shigemitsu Kongo. 

A prolific builder of temples, he made sure that they were built, maintained, and then passed on his skills and expertise to the next generation of builders after him.

1500 Years of Kongo Gumi

Some 1,500 years later, and those skills and expertise are still in high demand around Japan and beyond.

Pagoda of Seiganto-ji Temple at Nachi Katsuura with Nachi fall,Wakayama Japan@Shutterstock

This is truly incredible and shows us the longevity of having an in-demand skill that is hard to replicate.

Who knows? Perhaps someone in 1,500 years’ time will still be covering the great Kongo Gumi! So, while we think about the biggest brands when we think of a successful business, think about Kongo Gumi.

No business in the world has lasted this long – perhaps we could all learn something from the way they go about their business.

One thing is for sure: it’s kept the doors open longer than any other business they could find worldwide.