Global industrial gases company Air Liquide celebrates 100 years of operations in Japan this year and with a presence throughout the country, is today the number three in the Japanese industrial and medical gas market with a market share of almost 20%.

With 2,800 employees and over half the Group’s turnover in the Asia-Pacific region, Japan is a strategic market for Air Liquide and a technology platform for the company for the whole of Asia and in 2004 the Group based the Global Management of its electronics business there.

Way backing 1907, just 5 years after the foundation of the company in France, Air Liquide commenced its operations in Japan – convinced of the opportunities in naval and railway construction. The company therefore installed its first air separation unit on the island of Sakura Jima near Osaka, the industrial capital at that time, to cater for the demand for oxygen and acetylene.

Later, in 1910, Air Liquide created the Oxygen and Acetylene Business of Japan (SOAJ) and then 20 years later Teikoku Sanso, which later became Air Liquide Japan. Following the continuous developments and technological advancements throughout the 20th century, the booming semiconductor industry of the 1980’s afforded the firm new opportunities for development.

In more recent history the company has merged its industrial and medical as businesses with those of its competitors to create Japan Air Gases, which as recently as 2006 became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air Liquide.