History

History

Sumitomo Corporation has been expanding its footprint in Asia and Oceania, from India in 1950 to the latest addition in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar in 2012. Sumitomo Corporation Asia & Oceania Group now operates from 14 countries in the region.

Our personality has been shaped by a history of more than 400 years. Explore Sumitomo Corporation’s timeline to learn more about the journey.

The history of Sumitomo dates back to the early 17th century, when Masatomo Sumitomo (1585–1652) opened a book and medicine shop in Kyoto. Later in life, he created his Founder’s Precepts, which laid out his business principles. The Sumitomo Business Philosophy, stressing integrity and sound management, is based on Masatomo’s precepts and has been a central force shaping the spirit of each Sumitomo company for more than four centuries. Sumitomo’s initial core business was copper mining. It later diversified into a variety of fields, including finance, insurance, iron and steel, and real estate, and is now one of Japan’s representative business groups.

Sumitomo Corporation traces its roots to 1919, when The Osaka North Harbour Company Limited was established to undertake a land reclamation project in Osaka Bay. In 1945, the Company decided to enter the trading business. It set up its first overseas office in Bombay, India, in 1950 and stationed a representative in the United States the following year, marking its incarnation as the trading arm of Sumitomo Group.

The 1960s and 1970s saw tremendous expansion and internationalisation of the Japanese economy, spurred by heavy industries such as steel and chemicals. That was when Sumitomo Corporation evolved into an influential and integrated trading company. It diversified its product range to include iron and steel, non-ferrous metals, electrical and electronics products, machinery, agricultural and marine products, chemicals, textiles, natural resources, and real estate. It also expanded its businesses to cover sophisticated areas such as resource development, plant construction, joint venture formation, financing and investment.

In 1988, Sumitomo Corporation unveiled its vision of becoming an Integrated Business Enterprise. This initiative focused on strengthening existing trading operations and aggressively pursuing new investment opportunities. Today Sumitomo Corporation plays a key role in the global exchange of goods, services and technology. It has been more than 400 years of innovation and we are still at it – constantly evolving ourselves to contribute to the development and growth of various regions in diverse industries.

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