The next time someone suggests you meet for a drink 'down at the Fong', you may have to hop on a plane. Allan Zeman, the man behind Lan Kwai Fong, is making his second attempt to export Hong Kong's trendiest hangout to the mainland. Zeman is taking his successful mix of restaurants and bars in Central to Chengdu , the fast-rising capital of Sichuan province. The entrepreneur has bought up a small neighbourhood along the Jinjiang River in the heart of the business district, a collection of 19 new buildings at three-storeys each. 'When the Jinjiang district government secretary for Chengdu approached me to set up a Lan Kwai Fong there, I said no way,' Zeman said. 'But on my first trip there I was impressed that virtually every restaurant and bar was packed.' The blocks are covered by a huge canopy made of the same translucent plastic used in the 'Water Cube' aquatics centre in Beijing, and have terraces, gardens, piazzas and roof-top dining. At 43,000 square metres total, the project is roughly 18 times bigger than Lan Kwai Fong in Hong Kong. He declined to say how much he paid but said that it was a good deal. Zeman has tried before to establish his presence on the mainland. His bid to gain a foothold in Shenzhen failed at the 11th hour when he could not secure a licence for the project. He rented space in the Coco Park shopping mall in the Futian district, but it turned out it did not qualify for a food and beverage permit 'just when everything was ready to go'. But Zeman said he has control in his new venture. 'I don't have to deal with any landlord.' The decision to invest in Chengdu came after repeated entreaties by the Jinjiang secretary. Zeman at first resisted but eventually decided to take a look and stopped off on his way back from the Olympics in September last year. What he saw impressed him and he began the negotiations when he returned to Hong Kong. He is in the process of signing up tenants and expects to open in March. Lan Kwai Fong's trademark restaurant, California, and pub, LKF Beer Bar, will be part of it. And he is in talks with a group of Hong Kong exporters, who have recently opened retail outlets under the collective name of Ziti in Wuhan and Nanjing for new shops at Chengdu. Zeman said he was not concerned about demand from tenants and was banking on a move to the capital by a rising number of multinational firms, especially the car industry, and by his neighbours in the area - the five-star Shangri-La hotel and Wharf (Holdings)' residential project, Tian Fu Times Square. 'Lan Kwai Fong is a brand in China, everybody knows it and there are even fake ones,' Zeman said. 'It's a name I don't need to promote.' Lan Kwai Fong is among a prolific number of homegrown Hong Kong brands and businesses now vying for a slice of the spending power wielded by the well-heeled, middle-class on the mainland at a time when Hong Kong's recession-hit consumers are curbing their partying habits. Zeman said the Chengdu project would be a role model for another venture in Guangzhou, the site of another Lan Kwai Fong over the border. 'The new express rail link between Guangzhou and Hong Kong and the integration of the city with the Pearl River Delta will change our lifestyle,' Zeman said. 'We may have dinner at Guangzhou and come back on the same day.'