5 Of The World's Oldest Companies
Kongo Gumi is a Japanese construction company and was the world's oldest continuously ongoing independent company, operating for over 1,400 years until it was absorbed as a subsidiary of another larger construction company.
One of the secrets of Kongo Gumi's 1,428 year run was its flexibility. For instance, when the temple building business suffered during World War II, the company act in respond and changed to building coffins. Kongo Gumi's victory also implies that it's a good idea to operate in a stable industry. Few industries could be less volatile than Buddhist temple construction - where the belief system has survived for thousands of years and has many millions of followers. The company fell on hard times and went into liquidation in January 2006. Its assets were purchased by Takamatsu Corporation. Before its liquidation, it had over 100 employees and annual revenue of $70 million in 2005; it still specialized in building Buddhist temples. The last president was Masakazu Kongo, the 40th Kongo to lead the firm. As of December 2006, Kongo Gumi continues to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Takamatsu.
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