Nina Kao | The Innovator 25 Asia-Pacific 2021

Nina Kao

Global Head of PR, Deputy Spokesperson



“Don’t settle for less — not just make an impact but be the impact."

Nina Kao has transformed TSMC’s PR strategy from passive to proactive, as evident by the semiconductor giant’s responses to a slew of issues — the semiconductor shortage, geopolitical issues between the US, China and Taiwan, building a new factory in Arizona and pressures on companies to respond to climate change, among others. While the old TSMC would have shunned attention, the company under Kao capitalized on these moments to share its story, with, most notably, chairman Mark Liu appearing on 60 Minutes to discuss the chip shortage. Kao responded to controversy surrounding TSMC’s construction of a manufacturing plant in Arizona by orchestrating a non-traditional recruitment campaign that resulted in the company hiring its first class of engineers. 

How do you define innovation?
Restless reinvention

What is the most innovative comms/marketing initiative you've seen in the last 12 months?
The hardest this year — Tokyo 2020 Olympics; the most exciting one is Virgin Galactic launched Richard Branson to space.

In your opinion, what brands and/or agencies are most innovative around PR and marketing?

Describe a moment in your career that you would consider 'innovative.'
Whenever we need to deal with a (potential) crisis or shoot for something grand, our adrenaline would just kick in to give us the super power to make the impossible achievable.

Who do you admire for his/her approach to innovation?
Christopher Nolan

How do you get out of a creativity rut?

What advice would you give to the PR industry around embracing innovation?
Don’t settle for less — not just make an impact but be the impact.

What would you be doing if you weren't doing your current job?
Maybe an engineer. But no matter what I do, I would always be a practitioner who dreams.

Which book/movie/TV show/podcast/playlist/other cultural source has helped you get through this year or provided inspiration?
Thanks to Kindle Oasis I can now read while in hot bath. "Reporter : A Memoir" for example is one that I enjoyed reading this year.

What's your favourite time of day and why?
Whenever I see the beautiful sky, or late hours if I don’t have early arrangements the next day.