Min H. Kao was born in 1949 in a small town in Taiwan called Zhushan in Nantou. He graduated from the National Taiwan University in Taiwan and earned a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Tennessee.
In 1989, with Gary Burrell, Kao co-founded Garmin, a company best known for Manufacturing Global Positioning System.
In 2005, Kao gave $17.5 million to the College of Engineering of the University of Tennessee, $12.5 million of which was designated for the construction of a new facility. In May 2007, groundbreaking ceremonies were conducted for the new Min Kao Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building. The building was dedicated in March 2012.
Kao is married to Fan Kao. They have a son, Ken Kao, who is a film Producer, and a daughter, Jen Kao, who is a fashion designer. They reside in Leawood, Kansas. In 2011, he purchased an apartment in 15 Central Park West, Manhattan, New York City.
In 2015, Kao donates $1 million to the Kansas State University College of Engineering for building four labs.