5 Questions With Anita Chan, Co-Founder of ‘Sam the Local’


It’s super easy to book flights and places to stay online – but what do you do when you get there? Hong Kong startup Sam the Local wants to help you to find the best things to do when you get to your next destination.

Anita Chan (pictured on the left, Maggie Lau on the right) relocated to Hong Kong from California, and prior to Sam the Local, she worked at a consumer products companies doing communications, project management, and regional marketing.

Now she is excited to be involved in the Hong Kong startup community, building something she is passionate about. We sat down with Anita to find out who exactly Sam the Local is…


What is your startup?

Sam the Local connects people to a local for customized, interest-based Outings. For those who recently relocated to Hong Kong, friends and family who are visiting, those who have some time during their business trip, and people in Hong Kong just looking to explore the city more, this is perfect. They can have their own private Outing to experience Hong Kong they way they want.

How did you come up with this idea?

During our travels in Asia, we have been fortunate to always have friends give us tips and take us around to show us what they know. This allowed us to get below the surface level of each destination. On the other side, when friends and family visited Hong Kong, we showed them things outside of the tourist attractions. Then we thought, “What if people didn’t have a friend where they traveled to?” After doing some research, we realized that this problem wasn’t just our own, but were issues that other travelers had as well. From there, Sam the Local was born. We connect knowledgeable local insiders with those people who want to discover this insider knowledge.

Who are you targeting and how big is the market in HK/Asia?

At this initial stage, we are targeting millennials from the US, Europe, and Australia who are looking to experience a different side of Hong Kong. Our next step is to expand to other cities in Asia, so that anywhere you go, you can have a local friend share their local tips with you.

In 2013, the global travel activities market was valued at US$100 billion.

What are your future plans for your startup?

We are growing the number of Locals we have in the Hong Kong market first, and will then expand to some more cities in Asia within the next 2 years.

1 Benefit and 1 Challenge in the HK startup scene?

One benefit of the Hong Kong startup scene is everyone is willing to share tips and advice, and are open to connecting you to the right people. One challenge of the Hong Kong startup scene is that there aren’t many accelerator programs. They are gradually growing with fintech and B2B ones being developed, and it just seems to require more time for more of these types of programs to develop in Hong Kong.

Sam the Local on Startbase.HK

Anita Chan on Startbase.HK

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  1. Would have been a handy site for when I was going to HK every 90 days, but I’ll be sure to remember it for my next visit! Any plans to expand to Taiwan? I’d love to be a local!