Tougher regulations for listing on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong are prompting more domestic firms to look overseas, a Nasdaq official says. Patrick Sutch, business development director (Asia) for the Nasdaq Stock Market of the US, said: 'Hong Kong regulations, with regard to listing, have been raised so a lot of the companies which thought they were ready for listing, no longer are because the goal posts have been changed.' While only one Hong Kong-based firm had listed on the Nasdaq so far this year, compared with a total of three in 1995, at least two are scheduled for the coming months and 'a number more are in the pipeline'. 'There has been a sharp increase in enquiries over the last 18 months,' he said. Mr Sutch also saw the impending handover to Chinese rule as another incentive to list in the United States. There are currently 13 Hong Kong-based firms listed on the Nasdaq. Nasdaq is the youngest of three major US exchanges, founded in 1971. The bulk of its listing are technology related , such as Microsoft and Apple Computers, and smaller, more speculative firms. When asked if allowing Asian companies that had failed listing requirements at home to sell shares in the US was exposing US investors to an undue risk, Charles Balfour, managing director (international) for Nasdaq said: 'That is up to the US investors, they are a very sophisticated bunch, they can make up their own minds.' Nasdaq officials said there was also an increasing interest from mainland Chinese firms in a US listing. They said there were currently at lease 10 Chinese firms indirectly listed on the Nasdaq through US shell firms. The latest Hong Kong addition to the index, on September 11, was American Craft Brewery International, which runs small beer breweries in China.