Charles Kao, Willard Boyle and George Smith shared the 2009 Nobel Prize for physics for work in fibre-optics and in semiconductors, the prize committee said on Tuesday.
The committee said the three scientists helped shape the foundations of today's networked society.
"They have created many practical innovations for everyday life and provided new tools for scientific exploration," the committee said in a statement.
Kao, born in Shanghai and holding British and American citizenship, won half of the award. Boyle, who has dual Canadian-U.S. citizenship, and American Smith shared the other half.
The prize of 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.4 million), awarded by the Nobel Committee for Physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, was the second of this year's Nobel prizes.