The Shanghai-born scientist who won the
Nobel Prize for physics was Monday named Hong Kong's 2009 Person of the Year in a government-run radio poll.
Charles Kuen Kao, 75, who won the 2009 award for his work in fiber optics, topped the annual poll run by RTHK radio station.
Kao beat out 11 other rivals including US President Barack Obama and the late pop star Michael Jackson to win the poll by just two votes over Hong Kong animal welfare campaigner Sally Andersen, dpa reported.
Kao, who lives in US state of California, suffers from Alzheimer's disease which has left him with difficulty speaking and is now unable to complete a single sentence, according to his wife.
He shared the Nobel Prize in October for his "groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibres for optical communication."
Kao holds both British and American citizenship. He was born in Shanghai in 1933, went to school in Hong Kong and gained his doctoral degree in electrical engineering from Imperial College, London.
His pioneering work, carried out in the 1960s in England, demonstrated that light rather than electricity could be used to transmit speech and data accurately at very high speeds.
It led to 29 patented discoveries and contributed to the development and commercialization of optical fibre communications that made the technological revolution possible.