Lai See

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 October, 2007, 12:00am

Zeman plans second Lan Kwai Fong

Add CoCo to Allan Zeman's portfolio favourites, in addition to Ocean Park pandas Ying Ying and Le Le.

However CoCo is not a cute bear but a shopping and entertainment precinct in Shenzhen that will be transformed into the next Lan Kwai Fong next year.

An hour and a half from his home base, Mr Zeman has been expanding his famous drinking and restaurant precinct in CoCo park, which just entered its first year of operation.

We gather the new Lan Kwai Fong, which will have a 6,000 square foot rooftop, complete with Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese eateries, is scheduled to open in about three months.

His move signals how restaurant groups are hoping to tap the mainland's expanding middle class.

In Hong Kong, places like Lan Kwai Fong are making extra marketing efforts, as witnessed by Mr Zeman's increasing television exposure. This weekend will see the 5th Lan Kwai Fong Carnival, with spicy Brazilian girls and hot political figure Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee patrolling the streets to ensure everyone has a good time.

Prodigal son returns

Bad news for Prince Richard.

Former International Herald Tribune correspondent Thomas Crampton will be back in Hong Kong next year, working for Next Media chairman Jimmy Lai Chee-ying.

Mr Crampton, who famously broke the story of Richard Li not graduating from Stanford University in 2001, is going to head Mr Lai's new media business.

A former Foreign Correspondents' Club president, Mr Crampton has been working in New York at the IHT and the New York Times over the past few years. He started a blog a few months ago, reinventing himself as a media and technology expert.

Great expectations

We wish we could decode what China Shenhua Energy chairman Chen Biting really meant when he said he was not fully happy to see his company climb only 87 per cent in its Shanghai market debut on Tuesday.

Consider what happened after that: The company's A shares rose the maximum allowed 10 per cent in each of the next two sessions while its H shares gained 24 per cent yesterday to reach a record HK$57.85.

We are not sure if Mr Chen feels any happier but Lai See is sure he liked the Swiss more than the French.

Yesterday, UBS upgraded Shenhua to HK$101 while earlier this week CLSA put an 'underperform' rating on the stock.

Yesterday, we learned that CLSA head of research Andrew Driscoll had maintained his bearish view, writing: 'If Shenhua prints HK$101 before 2008 I will do my presentation in a mini-skirt, and no one wants to see that.'

Speaking in tongues

A year into his job as the city's consul-general of Japan, Sato Shigekazu knows the way to a reporter's heart is through his stomach.

That was why the perfect-mandarin-speaking diplomat was so happy to talk about how delicious the ox tongue in Sendai and ramen in Fukuoka was at Dragonair's launch of two new routes to Japan.

'The ox tongue is so famous in Sendai - we even have a song called I love gyu [ox] tongue,' said Mr Sato, almost tempted to sing the village song.

Many local residents love to go to Japan for the sushi and hairy beef. Last year, 350,000 Hong Kongers visited the country and numbers were up 20 per cent in the first eight months of this year.

Likewise, the Japanese also like to come to Hong Kong for dim sum and BBQ pork rice. Last year, there were 1.3 million Japanese visitors to Hong Kong, the third-largest visitor group behind the mainland and Taiwan.