Allan Zeman

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Allan Zeman

Allan Zeman, Ocean Park Hong Kong, 2009.jpg
Zeman in 2009 at Ocean Park Hong Kong
Personal details
Born (1949-07-18) 18 July 1949 (age 70)
Regensburg, West Germany
NationalityCanadian (1949[citation needed]-2008)
Chinese (Hong Kong) (2008–present)
Political partyNew People's Party (Hong Kong)
Spouse(s)Charmaine Zeman
ChildrenJonathan Zeman
Marisa Zeman-McConnell
Alma materLL.D. (Hon) (UWO)
Known forDeveloping Lan Kwai Fong and running Ocean Park in Hong Kong
Awards2001: Justice of the Peace
2004: Gold Bauhinia Star
2011: Grand Bauhinia Medal

Allan Zeman GBM, GBS, JP (Chinese name: 盛智文; born 1949) is a Hong Kong business magnate.

Background and personal life[edit]

Allan Zeman was born in to a Jewish[1] family in Regensburg, Germany; and was raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where his mother worked in a hospital. When Zeman was seven years old, his father died.[2] He started working at the age of ten. He dropped out of college, and by the age of nineteen, while working for a lingerie company, he had earned his first US$1 million.[3]

He made his first fortune by importing clothes from Hong Kong. He frequently travelled to Hong Kong for work in the 1970s, and eventually moved there in 1975.[4] Zeman is married to Charmaine Zeman; they have two children: Jonathan Zeman and Marisa Zeman-McConnell.[5] He speaks English, French and some Cantonese, and is a teetotaler.[6]


In 1975, Zeman founded Colby International Group to source clothing in China and export it to Canada. In late 2000, by now a much larger and diversified company, Colby was sold to Li & Fung Ltd., a major competitor. In the early 1980s, Zeman felt that Hong Kong had no western restaurant that suited his needs, so in 1983 he opened California Restaurant in Lan Kwai Fong, a narrow street in Central, Hong Kong. He bought the entire block in 1984 and thus launched his career as both an entertainment operator and property developer.[citation needed]

Through Lan Kwai Fong Holdings Ltd, of which he is chairman, he drove the development of Lan Kwai Fong to be one of the most important bar and night life districts in Hong Kong. He is said to own 65 percent of the district's properties.[4]

Meanwhile, as chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Concepts Holdings Ltd., he controls a number of restaurants in Lan Kwai Fong including California, California Coffee, China Lan Kwai Fong, Indochine, Tokio Joe, Cafe des Artistes, Tutta Luna, Jazz Club, Thai Lemongrass, BACI, BACI Pizza and Luna Di Notte.[citation needed]

In July 2003,[7] Zeman was appointed by the then-Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Tung Chee-hwa, to become the chairman of Ocean Park. He managed to raise visitor numbers despite the opening of rival Hong Kong Disneyland. By 2007, Forbes magazine dubbed him “Hong Kong's Mouse Killer”. By 2014, Zeman stepped down from the chairmanship.


In 2001, he was appointed a Justice of the Peace in Hong Kong, in 2004, he was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star and in 2011 he was awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal.

Other business interests[edit]

Film and TV[edit]

A noted film producer, Zeman is chairman of Sweetpea Entertainment Inc., a film production company based in Los Angeles. He is also involved with After Dark Films, a movie company.[citation needed]


As well as having built and sold off the successful Colby group, Zeman is a director of Algo Group, another fashion business. In February 2007, he was named "Stylemaker of the Year" by Style Magazine (published by the South China Morning Post).

Property development[edit]

Zeman is a property developer and built the Andara Resort and Villas in Phuket, Thailand.[citation needed]


Zeman is chairman of Mesco Shipyard Ltd (shipbuilding) and DKA Ltd (public relations), and a director of Wynn Resorts.[8] He is a non-executive director of Pacific Century Premium Developments Ltd.[9][10]

Political activity[edit]

He supported Regina Ip, the controversial former Secretary for Security in the 2007 Legco by-election in the Hong Kong Island constituency. However, she was defeated by Anson Chan.[11]

In 2017, he gave his support to Carrie Lam, who announced on 12 January 2017 that she would run for the Chief Executive role in Hong Kong,[12] which position she gained in March 2017. [13] By mid-2019 he was being cited as an economic adviser to Lam in her Chief Executive role. [14]

Official positions[edit]

Zeman is prominent in government circles, sitting on various committees, boards and advisory bodies. He is a long-standing member of the Board of Governors of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Economic and Employment Council in Hong Kong. He is a board member of the Tourism Strategy Group for the Hong Kong Tourism Commission, the Cultural and Heritage Commission and the Urban Renewal Authority.[10] He is a member of the International Events Fund Steering Committee for the Hong Kong Tourism Board. He was appointed as a member of the Services Promotion Strategy Group, chaired by the Financial Secretary. He is on the Board of the Hong Kong Arts Festival and Hong Kong Community Chest.[10]


Zeman has long held the right of abode in Hong Kong; this entitled him to a Hong Kong permanent identity card. In addition, in September 2008, Zeman renounced his Canadian citizenship and became a naturalised citizen of the People's Republic of China, as he said he has lived and worked in Hong Kong for 38 years and has always considered it to be his home. The Chinese citizenship, combined with his right of abode in Hong Kong, enables him to hold a Home Return Permit for entering mainland China, and a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passport for international travel.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Jewish Business News: "Allan Zeman’s Heart Is in Hong Kong" By Alan Gallindoss July 7, 2013
  2. ^ "Meet 'n' Greet with Allan Zeman: full interview". Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  3. ^ "A Conversation With Allan Zeman: The Father Of Lan Kwai Fong". Retrieved 2 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b King of the hill looks to Hollywood's heights SCMP, 27 March 2006.
  5. ^ Hong Kong Tatler: "Charmaine Zeman" retrieved April 10, 2017
  6. ^ Chris Oliver.China’s King of ‘the Fong’ looks westward, 25 November 2010; accessed 17 June 2014.
  7. ^ "法定機構「唐人」勢叮走". Oriental Daily News. 5 April 2012.(in Chinese)
  8. ^ Profile at Wynn Resorts,; accessed 17 June 2014.
  9. ^ Pacific Century Premium Developments Ltd,; accessed 17 June 2014.
  10. ^ a b c Allan Zeman profile, World Services Congress,; accessed 17 June 2014.
  11. ^ Father figure boosts Regina Archived 20 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine, The Standard, 2 October 2007.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Carrie Lam Wins Vote to Become Hong Kong’s Next Leader, New York Times: accessed 21 Aug 2019
  14. ^ China's army may enter Hong Kong to 'quell' pro-democracy protests, adviser to Carrie Lam warns, ABC News; accessed 21 Aug 2019.

External links[edit]

Order of precedence
Preceded by
Charles Kao
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal
Hong Kong order of precedence
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal
Succeeded by
Stephen Lam
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal