The beleaguered Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) is set to receive a much-needed boost with the listing of its first United States-based and Nasdaq-listed high-technology firm. Avant! Corp, a leading microchip design software-maker, has chosen Hong Kong's GEM for its listing over similar exchanges in Singapore, Taiwan and Japan. It hopes to raise US$100 million by spinning off its Asian division, say sources close to the company. Despite being less than four years old, Avant! will have the longest track record of the 32 companies listed on the GEM so far. Brokers and analysts believe the issue will help raise the profile of the GEM board, which was created last year with less stringent requirements than the main board to enable young and profitless companies to raise capital. 'It will most definitely be a boost,' Francis Lun, general manager of Fulbright Securities said. 'Right now what we have are mostly start-ups with no track record.' A number of brokers also believed the issue would help rekindle investor interest in the GEM. 'Quality instead of deep pockets, that would be much better,' Mr Lun said. 'We need real hi-tech companies.' For Avant!, part of the attraction of GEM was its relaxed listing requirements. A source said Avant! had originally planned to restructure and then inject its Asian businesses into the Nasdaq-listed company, but was unable to obtain waivers on certain restrictions. 'It was because of the listing rules in the United States,' the source said. 'They could not get exemptions on certain issues . . . such as the issue of options.' The offering will be sponsored by Taiwan's Yuanta Securities and is scheduled to take place in the last quarter of the year, possibly October. An exchange official confirmed Avant! this month filed a listing application, but said it had shifted back its listing timetable. Sources familiar with the matter said the delay was not caused by market conditions, but due to 'a number of internal issues which needed sorting out'. 'The company is still in the process of restructuring,' the source said. 'It is still too early to tell [what the final outcome will be].' Avant! plans to put its microchip manufacturing business in the Asian unit. It is also considering injecting part of its profitable research and development business.