Charles K. Kao

Charles K. Kao Wiki/Biography

Charles K. Kao, an electrical engineer, and physicist, invented fiber optics and pioneered their use in telecommunications. Charles K. Kao developed several techniques for transporting digital data using glass fibers and lasers in the 1960s, establishing the foundation for the Internet.

He was born in Shanghai, China, on November 4, 1933. His full name is Charles Kao Kuen. His zodiac sign is Scorpio. Charles has Chinese nationality and is of mixed ancestry.

According to facts about his family (Mother), his parents are King Tsing Fong and Kao Chun-Hsiang (Father). In Shanghai, his father was well-known for being a lawyer. Later, he worked in Hong Kong as a legal counselor and instructor of Chinese law. He had a younger brother named Timothy. Before he was born, his older siblings’ sister and brother both passed away from measles.

Regarding Charles K. Kao’s academic history, he began his formal education at the prestigious Shanghai World School. Kao’s family relocated to British Hong Kong after leaving Taiwan in 1948, where he attended St. Joseph’s College and graduated in 1952. He earned a Bachelor of Engineering in electrical engineering from the University of Greenwich. He continued his studies and graduated from the University of London with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1965.

Kao’s ability to keep his balance was gone in 2016. He refused to be kept alive by life support or have CPR performed on him at the end of his dementia, so his wife took care of him. On September 23, 2018, Kao, passed away at the age of 84 years 2023, passed away at the Bradbury Hospice in Hong Kong from an undisclosed cause.

What is the net worth of Charles K. Kao?

Charles K. Kao’s perseverance and brilliance brought him great wealth. It was estimated that he had a net worth of more than $600,000 at the time of his death in 2018.

Quick Facts about Charles K. Kao

Full Name: Charles K. Kao
Gender: Male
Profession: Electrical Engineer
Country: China
Height: 5 feet 8 inches (1.73m)
Marital Status: married
Married Date: January 1, 1970
Wife Wong May-wan (Gwen)
Net Worth $600K
Eye Color Dark Brown
Hair Color Black
Birth Place Shanghai
Nationality Chinese
Ethnicity Mixed
Education Shanghai World School, St. Joseph’s College, University of Greenwich, University of London
Father Kao Chun-Hsiang
Mother King Tsing Fong
Siblings (One) Timothy
Kids (Two) Simon, Amanda


Soon after getting his undergraduate degrees in 1957, Charles K. Kao started working at Standard Telephones & Cables (STC), a British branch of International Telephone & Telegraph Co. (ITT). He applied for a lectureship at Loughborough Polytechnic in 1960, but he decided to stay after obtaining a job offer from Standard Telecommunication Laboratories (STL), STC’s research section, in Harlow. He also took over as leader of the electro-optics research group from Karbowiak in late 1963. By then, he had concluded that impurities were responsible for the fibers’ light loss.

In addition, Kao’s group began looking into material properties in addition to optical physics in 1964 when George Alfred Hockham joined. Dielectric fiber surface waveguides for optical frequencies was the title of the first article Kao and Hockham ever submitted. It was presented in 1966 at an Institution of Electrical Engineers meeting in London. This study suggests that light might be transmitted over kilometers without any signal loss using ultra-pure glass fibers.

The first successful fiber-optic cable was constructed in 1970. The same year he joined the faculty at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Charles K. Kao took a two-year leave of absence from STL to assist in the establishment of the electronics department there. Later, the leave was extended through 1974.

In 1981, after advancing further, he was appointed Vice President and Director of Engineering for the division. He then received a job offer from the Advanced Technology Center in Shelton, Connecticut, which he accepted, working there until 1987.

Family, Wife, Relationship

He wed Wong May-wan (Gwen), another Standard Telephones & Cables engineer, in 1959. The details of their initial encounter or romantic connection are unknown. They have two kids: a son named Simon was born in 1961, and a girl named Amanda was born in 1963. He and his wife established the Charles K. Kao Foundation for Alzheimer’s Disease Limited in 2010 to raise awareness of the illness.

Physical Appearance (Height, Weight)

He was undeniably very attractive and handsome. He weighed about 70 kg and was a solid 5 feet 8 inches tall. In addition, Charles had dark brown eyes and black hair.