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What are the world’s oldest companies, and where are they?

21 Feb 2020

This map from BusinessFinancing looks at the world’s oldest companies, from an ancient construction company to a long-established eatery.

According to the BBC, the average lifespan of a business set up today is just 15 years. But among those younger enterprises are a number of establishments with roots going back centuries.

Wanting to learn more, BusinessFinancing researched the oldest companies still in operation in different countries around the world.

It created a series of maps showing the results, greying out the areas in which oldest businesses couldn’t be identified. The company noted that it made every effort to provide accurate data, but that there are potentially other businesses still operating that are older than the ones listed.

The restaurant that served Columbus and Mozart

In Europe, for example, the study claims the oldest restaurant on the continent that you can still eat in to be St Peter Stifts Kulinarium in Salzburg.

Residing in the walls of St Peter’s Abbey, it opened in 803 and, according to the study, is believed to have catered to such guests as Christopher Columbus and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

In North America, businesses first established in the 16th century are still running.

The oldest is in Mexico, set up in 1534. La Casa de Moneda de México was the first mint – a company producing coins for the government and state – in the Americas, and its coins travelled so far that they formed the basis of many modern currencies, including dollars and yen.

The oldest companies in the world

The oldest company still in business in the world, according to the study, resides in Asia.

Japanese construction company Kongo Gumi set up shop in 578, when Buddhism was growing in popularity in the region, to help the nation build its first government temple. Today, it combines traditional temple-building techniques with more contemporary methods.

Asia is also said to be home to the oldest restaurant on the globe – Ma Yu Ching’s Bucket Chicken House – which first opened in Kaifeng, China in 1153AD.

Check out the map below to see the rest of the world’s oldest companies, or click here to view it as a larger image.

Map showing the oldest companies around the world.

The oldest company in almost every country. Image: Businessfinancing.co.uk

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Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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