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A Japanese company
that has been in business for over

Japanese companies in business for more than 100 years

Japan is the country with the world’s largest number of companies which have been in business for more than 100 years since their establishment. Even Nintendo, which is famous for producing and selling video game consoles and software, has actually been in operation for over a century.

According to a 2019 survey, in Japan there are 33,076 companies that have been in business for more than 100 years, which account for 41.3% of all companies with such a long history in the entire world.

Number and ratio of companies that have been in business for over 100 years
Rank Country Number of company Ratio
1 Japan 33,076 41.3%
2 USA 19,497 24.4%
3 Sweden 13,997 17.5%
4 Germany 4,947 6.2%
5 United Kingdom 1,861 2.3%
6 Italy 935 1.2%
7 Australia 630 0.8%
8 Canada 519 0.6%
9 Netherlands 448 0.6%
10 Finland 428 0.5%
Number and ratio of companies that have been in business for over 200 years
Rank Country Number of company Ratio
1 Japan 1,340 65.0%
2 USA 239 11.6%
3 Germany 201 9.8%
4 United Kingdom 83 4.0%
5 Russia 41 2.0%
6 Australia 31 1.5%
7 Netherlands 19 0.9%
8 Poland 17 0.8%
9 Italy 16 0.8%
10 Sweden 11 0.5%

“「老舗企業」の実態調査(2019 年)” TEIKOKU DATABANK, LTD.

Looking at them by business category, the largest number is in manufacturing, with 8,344 companies (25.1%), followed by retail with 7,782 companies (23.4%) and wholesaling with 7,359 companies (22.1%). Rankings by industry type show that they also include many companies in businesses involved with traditional Japanese goods, such as liquor (Sake) production and sales, and kimono retailing.

Industry (large category) Number of company Ratio
Fishery, Agriculture & Forestry 429 1.3%
Financing Business 252 0.8%
Construction 3,559 10.7%
Real Estate 1,534 4.6%
Manufacturing 8,344 25.1%
Wholesaling 7,359 22.1%
Retailing 7,782 23.4%
Harbor Transportation 496 1.5%
Services 3,234 9.7%
Other 270 0.8%
Rank Category Number of company
1 Rental Office 894
2 Liquor (Sake) Production 801
3 Hotel 618
4 Liquor (Sake) Retailing 611
5 Kimono & Kimono Fabric Retailing 568
6 Women's and Kids' Clothes Retailing 535
7 Wooden Building Works 492
8 Civil Engineering and Construction 479
9 Liquor (Sake) Wholesaling 475
10 Public Engineering Works 434

“「老舗企業」の実態調査(2019 年)” TEIKOKU DATABANK, LTD.

Why is it that companies established such a long time ago
can continue to survive through so many years?

Japanese managers tend to place more emphasis on the long-term survival of their companies than on profits, and often do not expand their businesses imprudently, but instead develop them within the range of their main business and other areas closely related to it. There is also a widespread view of business as a social contribution, and a company's reason for existence is to contribute not only to itself and its customers, but to society as a whole. It is likely that companies can continue operating for so long partly because this attitude has been accepted by customers and society.

Another reason is that many companies continue to be operated by family management. Their principles and traditions are highly valued, and the management of the company is passed down within the family so that they can be handed over to future generations. Furthermore, company employees often develop a sense of unity and loyalty with their colleagues, seeing them as part of their own family. As a result, technology and know-how are rarely leaked outside of companies, and are instead gathered and accumulated within them. Such companies have not only protected the technology they accumulated, but also transformed it into products and services that meet the needs of the times.

Many disasters and calamitous events such as wars, major earthquakes, and typhoons have occurred and natural disasters continue to occur in Japan. The strength of ideas and technologies like these is probably a major reason that many Japanese companies have overcome such a wide range of crises, difficulties, and changes in the times, and ultimately survived.

Even some of the Japanese companies listed on Alibaba.com have been in operation for over 100 years since their establishment.
If you are interested in companies with long histories or their products, we recommend that you inquire with long-established Japanese companies who have outstanding technological capabilities.