The Oldest Businesses in Every Country Around the World


If you’ve ever wondered what country is home to the world’s oldest continuously operating business, you’ll find the answer with this visual created by the research team at Cloud Peak Law Group. Here, we explore the oldest business in almost every country around the world and the centuries they began operation in. While not every country had information available, our team was able to find the oldest business for 165 countries around the world. Only five of the businesses that are still running today date back to before the year 1000, with the oldest company in the world having opened in 578: That’s more than 1,400 years of being in business! What industries were the oldest businesses in the world a part of? These businesses span across more than 30 different types of industries, but banking was found to be the most common. Businesses like breweries, wineries, and distilleries and postal services have also stood the test of time and make up some of the oldest businesses in the world.

Click the image to expand The Oldest Businesses in Every Country Around the World - Wyoming Trust & LLC Attorney - Infographic

What Is the Oldest Business in the World?

The oldest business in the world is a company in Japan called Kongō Gumi, which has been in operation since 578. It is the oldest company on the list by far, predating the second-oldest by more than 200 years. Kongō Gumi is a family-owned construction company that got its start building Buddhist temples and other famous buildings many centuries ago. The company fell on hard times in 2006 and since then has been a subsidiary of a Japanese construction and engineering conglomerate.

A majority of the oldest businesses in the world can be found in Europe, with the exception of Japan and China’s oldest, which are in the top 10 oldest companies in the world.

The 10 Oldest Companies in Different Countries Around the World

  1. Kongo Gumi in Japan opened in 578.
  2. St. Peter Stifts Kulinarium in Austria opened in 803.
  3. Staffelter Hof Winery in Germany opened in 862.
  4. Monnaie de Paris in France opened in 864.
  5. Sean’s Bar in Ireland opened in 900.
  6. Marinelli Bell Foundry in Italy opened in 1040.
  7. Affligem Brewery in Belgium opened in 1074.
  8. Munke Mølle in Denmark opened in 1135.
  9. Aberdeen Harbour Board in Scotland opened in 1136.
  10. Ma Yu Ching’s Bucket Chicken House in China opened in 1153.

What Is the Oldest Business in the United States?

The Shirley Plantation is the oldest company in America. It began operating almost 400 years ago, in 1638. The Shirley Plantation is the oldest family-owned business in the United States and the oldest active plantation in Virginia. It was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

What Is the Most Common Industry of the Oldest Businesses in the World?

The most common industry of the oldest companies in the world is banking, with 36 countries on the list having a bank as their oldest business. The oldest bank still in operation today is the Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires in Argentina, which opened in 1822. After banking, the most common type of business is in the alcohol industry, with 18 different breweries, wineries, or distilleries making the list. The oldest is a winery located in Germany that dates back to 862. Postal services were also found to be the oldest company still in business for 16 different countries on the list. Portugal’s postal service is the oldest one in the world.

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