History of Kao's Chemical Business

Chemical Products Meeting the Needs of Many Industries All Over the World

It has been more than 130 years since Kao introduced Japan's first cosmetic soap. Throughout its history, the Chemical Business has delivered high-quality chemical products for many industrial fields that are not only functional and high-performance, but also environmentally friendly. Here, we would like to introduce our history through the events related to the Chemical Business.


Opening of Nagase Shoten in Tokyo, Japan by Kao's founder, Mr. Tomiro Nagase


Crude glycerine is launched.


Establishment of Kao Sekken Nagase Shokai Co., Ltd.
Aimed at mass production and mass selling and undertook management modernization


Tokyo Azuma factory (currently Tokyo Plant)

Tokyo Azuma factory (currently Tokyo Plant) began producing soap Struggled to expand production scale of soaps and shifted to full glycerin production


Sales of ECONA edible oil for food industry use begun
Results from research into fats, the raw material used to produce soap, enabled Japan's first sales of shortening oil


Based on detached Azuma factory, Dai Nihon Yushi Co., Ltd. established
Sales of coconut fatty acid begun


Sales of fatty alcohol (octyl alcohol) begun


Hydrogenation and dehydration (HD) process invented


Nihon Yuki Co., Ltd. established through fifty-fifty investment with Tekkosha Co., Ltd.
Sakata Plant commenced operations in northern Japan


Dai Nihon Yushi's Wakayama Plant commenced operations in western Japan
Began trial production of aircraft lubricating oil


Kao Sekken Nagase Shokai Co., Ltd. renamed Kao Co., Ltd.


Nihon Yuki Co., Ltd. renamed Kao Soap Co., Ltd.
At the same time, Kao Yushi Co., Ltd. established through the merger of Kao Co., Ltd and Dai Nihon Yushi Co., Ltd.


Sales of VINYCIZER plasticizer begun


Sales of surfactants begun


Sales of FARMIN fatty amine begun


Kao Soap Co., Ltd. established through the merger of Kao Soap Co., Ltd. and Kao Yushi Co., Ltd.
Sales of NEW ECONA shortening begun (cooking oil division)


KAOLIZER urethane form catalysts, which served as the initial step towards the future development of urethane business


Industrial Science Research Laboratories established in Wakayama
Tokyo Research Laboratories established in 1967 to enhance R&D activities
Sales of MIGHTY concrete additives begun
Producing high-strength and high-durability concrete, MIGHTY is used for building expressways, skyscrapers and other structures

Kao Industrial (Thailand) Co., Ltd. established
Kao (Taiwan) Corporation established


Sales of De-inking agent for recycling waste paper begun

Sinor Kao S.A. (now Kao Corporation S.A.) established in Spain


Kao-Quaker Co., Ltd. established (furan resin for casting. Joint venture
with Quaker Oats Co.(U.S.) and became a fully-owned subsidiary in 1997)


Quimi-Kao S.A. de C.V. established in Mexico


Pilipinas Kao, Inc. established as a joint venture company with Aboitiz & Co., Inc. in the Philippines. Plant built in Mindanao in 1979, and production of fatty alcohol, etc. made from coconut fatty acid begun

P.T. Polekao Indonesia Chemicals (now P.T. Kao Indonesia Chemicals) established


Establishment of Tochigi Research Laboratories


Kashima Plant, the second domestic chemical plant after our Wakayama Plant, began operation

Sales of toner binders for copiers begun
Sales of toners begun in 1983


Toyohashi Plant completed. Began operating as our main plant for producing binder for casting


High Point Chemical Corporation (now Kao Specialties Americas LLC) acquired in the United States


Fatty Chemical (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. established
Kao (Southeast Asia) Pte. Ltd. (now Kao (Singapore) Private Ltd.) established


Sales of CLEANTHROUGH cleaning agent for alternative chlorofluorocarbons begun

Kao Oleochemical (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. established


Chemische Fabrik CHEM-Y GmbH (now Kao Chemicals GmbH) acquired in Germany


Kao Plasticizer (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. established and production of plasticizers begun
Kao Chemical Corporation Shanghai established in China


Kao Chemicals GmbH in Germany: Tertiary amine production plant opened
Kao Specialties Americas LLC in USA: Toner binders production plant operated and its sales begun
Kao Corporation S.A. in Spain: New plant for aroma chemicals opened


Kao Chemical Corporation Shanghai in China: New sulfation facilities and manufacturing plant for MIGHTY concrete additive opened


New fragrance production facility opened at the Wakayama Plant


 polishing agents for hard disk

Production and sales of polishing agents for hard disk manufacturing begun

New plants for fragrance and toner binder go into operation and sales begun at Kao Corporation S.A. in Spain


Production and sales of colorants for inkjet printers begun

Fatty alcohol production plant expanded at Fatty Chemical (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. in Malaysia


Concrete additive "MIGHTY" manufacturing plant

New plant for producing MIGHTY concrete additive opened at Kao Chemicals GmbH in Germany


New plant opened in Thailand to boost production base in Southeast Asia
Kao Chemicals GmbH in Germany: Tertiary amine production plant expanded


Kao Chemical Corporation Shanghai in China: New plant for producing refrigerant oil base built


New plant in Pilipinas Kao, Inc. plant goes into operation, expanding yearly production capacity for fatty alcohol to 300 thousand tons
together with our Malaysia plant


Tertiary amine plant expanded at Pilipinas Kao, Inc in the Philippines.


Toner binder plant opened in Wakayama plant.

Kao do Brasil Representação Comercial Ltda established in Brazil.
New plants for casting agents go into operation at Huludao Jinxing Casting Materials Co., Ltd in China


New plant in P.T.Kao Indonesia Chemicals goes into operation at Karawang consolidating Tambun plants in Indonesia.
The Tambun plant moved and transferred their operation to Karawang until December 2014.
Capacity for fatty alcohol enhanced at Pilipinas Kao, Inc in the Philippines. 


New plant established at Kao (Shanghai) Chemical Industries Co.,Ltd. in China


Pigment ink for Inkjet printer

Pigment ink for Inkjet printer goes into operation and sales begins
Kao acquires Collins Inkjet Corporation (U.S.) and renamed it Kao Collins Inc.
Fatty acid production company established in Indonesia as a joint venture company.


Kao Acquired Chimigraf Holding (Spain) and renamed it Kao Chimigraf.


New chemical factory of Kao's Indonesian joint venture company (PT Apical Kao Chemicals)has been completed.


NEWTLAC 5000 construction car park.

Began full-scale sales of “NEWTLAC 5000” a highly durable asphalt modifier made from waste PET.



Began sales of "LUNAPHENON", Kao's proprietary tea catechins and coffee bean-derived chlorogenic acid.
KAO ADJUVANT A-200, a functional spreading agent for drones, is launched in China.


Kao establishes a tertiary amine production base in Texas, USA, to strengthen the foundation of its chemical business.
Chemical Business Division in Kao Vietnam Co., Ltd. established.
Kao Is Expanding Its Synthetic Fragrance Production Facilities in Spain, with the Aim of Strengthening Its Fragrance Business in Europe.
Kao Joins Geno as Founding Member of $120M+ Venture to Globally Scale Palm Oil Alternative.
Business Alliance Formed with Polar Star Space toward the Establishment of Ganoderma Disease Monitoring Technology on Oil Palm Farms.

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