Mainland firms that fail to meet listing requirements at home are turning to the Growth Enterprise Market (GEM), where rules for initial public offerings are considered less stringent. Representatives from 106 state-owned and private mainland companies attended the third China-Hong Kong International Investment Trade Conference yesterday to drum up support for Hong Kong listings. Typical of the firms were the likes of Wuxi Sujia Steel Pipe, which said a flotation on China's A-share markets was 'unreachable'. 'Hong Kong exchange requirements for a candidate's track record, registered capital, annual earnings and regulations on corporate refinancing are lower and more acceptable than on the mainland,' Sujia Steel president Gong Yucai said. Unlike Hong Kong's main board and markets on the mainland, the GEM does not require three years of consecutive profits from listing candidates. Originally conceived during the dotcom boom as a market for high-growth, high-technology firms that were short on earnings but long on promise, the GEM has become attractive to low-technology firms in less-sexy segments such as corduroy trousers. 'There is a much higher probability for our privately owned companies to be listed on the GEM rather than on mainland exchanges,' said Kenny Wang, general manager of Chamei Corduroy Group, which makes the fabric found in curtains, slacks and blazers. 'We are planning to buy an already Hong Kong-listed company as a first step to gaining new funding as quickly as possible. And then we'll have our own company listed on the Growth Enterprise Market.' Chamei has net assets of 150 million yuan (HK$140.47 million). Sujia Steel is also among the firms eyeing a Hong Kong listing. The company produces car parts and fire-proof materials and had 700 million yuan in sales last year.