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Corporate History

1880s

1887

Kao founder Mr. Tomiro Nagase starts Nagase Shoten, a Western sundry goods dealer that would later become Kao.

1900s

1902

Ukechi Factory is completed as a directly managed plant capable of handling the entire production process, from raw material preparation to final product packaging.

1920s

1923

Tokyo Azuma Factory (currently the Sumida Complex) begins operations, expanding the scale of the company's soap production.

1930s

1934

Housework Science Laboratory is founded as a research facility that takes a scientific approach to housework. (The facility is renamed the Nagase Housework Science Laboratory in 1937 and the Kao Housework Science Laboratory in 1954.)

1960s

1964

Kao Industrial (Thailand) Co., Ltd. is established as Kao's first company outside Japan.
Taiwan-Kao Company, Ltd. is established. (The company is renamed Kao (Taiwan) Corporation in 1991.)

1965

Malaysia Kao Company (Private) Ltd. is established in Singapore. (The company is renamed Kao (Singapore) Private Ltd. in 1973.)

1966

Takiya Kao Shoji (Tokyo) and Matsuhana Shoji (Kobe) are established as Kao's first sales companies specializing in wholesaling of Kao products.

1970s

1970

Kao (Hong Kong) Ltd. is established.

Sinor-Kao S.A. (Spain) is established.

1971

Kao focuses on customer service in order to more effectively bring feedback from consumers to bear in its corporate activities.

Nivea-Kao Co., Ltd. is established as a joint venture with Beiersdorf AG (West Germany).

Kao Life Science Laboratory is founded to carry on and expand on the functions of Kao Housework Science Laboratory.

1973

Kao (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. is established.

1974

Kao-Quaker Co., Ltd. is established as a joint venture with Quaker Oats Company (U.S.) to manufacture and sell furan resin for use with casting sand. (The new company becomes a wholly owned Kao subsidiary in 1997.)

1975

Quimi-Kao, S.A. de C.V. (Mexico) is established.

Kitt Siam (Thailand) Co., Ltd. is established. (The company is renamed Kao Commercial (Thailand) Co., Ltd. in 1991.)

1977

Pilipinas Kao, Incorporated (Philippines) is established.

P.T. Pole Kao Indonesia Chemicals is established. (The company is renamed PT. Kao Indonesia Chemicals in 1996.)

Kao acquires Molins Y Puigarnau S.A. (Spain). (The company is renamed Molins-Kao S.A. in 1979.)

1978

Ehime Sanitary Products Co., Ltd. is established. (The company is renamed Kao Sanitary Products Ehime Co., Ltd. in 2015.)

1979

Guhl Kosmetik is established in West Germany as a joint venture with Beiersdorf AG. (The company is renamed Guhl Ikebana GmbH in 1986.) The company develops its hair care business in Europe.

1980s

1985

Kao Soap Co., Ltd. is renamed Kao Corporation to reflect the increasingly broad scope of its businesses.
(The English corporate name is changed in 1982.)

Kao acquires a stake in P.T. Dino Indonesia Industrial Ltd. (The company is renamed PT Kao Indonesia in 1997.)

1986

Kao launches the Total Cost Reduction (TCR) program to effect a companywide, top-to-bottom review of organizational operations and workflow.

1987

Kao acquires High Point Chemical Corporation (U.S.). (The company is reorganized as Kao Chemicals Americas Corporation, High Point Textile Auxiliaries LLC, and Kao Specialties Americas LLC in 1999.)

Sinor-Kao S.A. and Molins-Kao S.A. merge to form Kao Corporation S.A. (Spain).

1988

Kao acquires the Andrew Jergens Company (U.S.).
(The company is renamed Kao Brands Company*1 in 2004.)

Fatty Chemical (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. is established.

1989

Kao acquires Goldwell AG (West Germany). (The company is renamed KPSS-Kao Professional Salon Services GmbH*2 in 2003.)

1990s

1991

Kao Oleochemical (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. is established.

1992

Kao (Australia) Marketing Pty. Ltd. is established.

Kao acquires Chemische Fabrik Chem-Y GmbH (Germany). (The company is renamed Kao Chemicals GmbH in 1996.)

1993

Kao Corporation Shanghai is established.

1995

Kao adopts the Kao Management Principles as its corporate philosophy.

Kao Chemical Corporation Shanghai is established.

1996

Kao Vietnam Co., Ltd. is established.

1999

Kao Hanbai Co., Ltd. is established following the merger of eight regional Hansha, or sales companies specializing in the wholesaling of Kao products. (The company becomes a 100% subsidiary in 2004, and merges with Kao Cosmetics Sales Co., Ltd. in 2007 which is renamed Kao Customer Marketing Co., Ltd.)

Kao Chemicals Europe, S.L. (Spain) is established.

2000s

2000

Kao Consumer Products (Southeast Asia) Co., Ltd. is established in Thailand.

2002

Kao acquires John Frieda Professional Hair Care, Inc., a premium hair care product manufacturer with bases in the U.S. and U.K. (The company is merged into Kao Brands Company*1 in 2004.)

Kao (China) Holding Co., Ltd. is established in China.

2004

The Kao Management Principles are revised and adopted as the Kao Way, a statement of the Kao Group's corporate philosophy.

2005

Kao acquires Molton Brown Ltd. (U.K.).

2006

The Kao Group acquires Kanebo Cosmetics Inc.

The Kao (China) Research and Development Center Co., Ltd. is established in China.

2009

Kao announces the Kao Environmental Statement and unveils a new corporate identity.

Acquisition of premium hair care products factory responsible for Goldwell products, to be renamed Kao Manufacturing Germany GmbH in 2013.

2010s

2012

Global Business Harmonization of Beauty Care in the Americas and Europe, Middle East and Africa regions begins. (*1 Renamed Kao USA Inc. *2 Renamed Kao Germany GmbH)

Construction of new plant completed at Kao (Hefei) Co., Ltd. in China.

Construction of new chemical product plant completed at Huludao Jinxing Casting Materials in China.

2013

Corporate acquisition to strengthen Scandinavian beauty care, renamed as Kao Sweden AB.

PT. Kao Indonesia Chemicals builds new manufacturing plant.

2014

New sanitary products factory opens at Sakata Plant.

Construction of the second consumer products plant at Kao Indonesia is completed.

2015

Construction of new plant completed at Kao (Shanghai) Chemical Industries Co., Ltd.

2016

Kao acquires Collins Inkjet Corporation (U.S.) and renamed it Kao Collins Inc.

2017

Kao acquires Oribe Hair Care (U.S.).

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