Shaw Organisation

Shaw Organisation is a film distribution company and cinema chain founded by brothers Runme Shaw and Run Run Shaw who went to Singapore in the 1920s to expand their family business founded by Runje Shaw.[1] The company originally operated as a distributor for the Shaw brothers' Tianyi Film Company (also called Unique) in Shanghai. Run Run Shaw later moved to Hong Kong in the 1950s to run Shaw Brothers Studio, whilst Runme Shaw stayed in Singapore to continue Shaw Organisation's operations. Unlike Tianyi,[2] Shaw Organisation does not produce films but distribute them in their theatres.

Shaw Organisation
TypePrivate company
IndustryMedia, Entertainment
Founded1925; 98 years ago (1925)
FoundersRun Run Shaw
Runme Shaw
ProductsCinemas, Film distribution
DivisionsShaw Services (Pte) Ltd


Shaw Organisation has a long history in Singapore since its founding in 1925. They bought the land which the Shaw House now stands in the year 1952. The plot of land was originally granted to William Scott in 1845. About 500,000 square feet of land was levelled original Shaw House and the adjacent Lido Theatre.

The company managed single-screen cinemas until the late 1980s, when it decided to build cineplexes to give more flexibility in offering different types of films. The first cineplexes built were the Prince and Jade cineplexes in Shaw Towers, opened in February 1988. Cineplexes have now become the standard for cinemas offering varied shows for smaller crowds.

The Shaw Organisation was founded in 1924 when Tan Runme Shaw (1901–1985) arrived in Singapore from Shanghai. He was the third of seven children of a Shanghai textile merchant, Shaw Yuh Hsuen (1867–1920).

In Shanghai, Runme's eldest brother Runje Shaw had founded the Tianyi Film Company (aka Unique). Not satisfied with the domestic market, the Shaw brothers sought business opportunities elsewhere, especially South-East Asia. Runme, as distribution manager was tasked to search for a suitable investment city. Runme's original destination was Indochina where he hoped to meet with the film distributors. However, he was denied permission to land there and instead, he ended up in Singapore, creating the Shaw Organisation. He was joined by his younger brother Sir Run Run Shaw two years later.[3]

After the Great Depression, the Shaws decided to diversify their risk by branching out from their entertainment business into areas like amusement parks. They brought in ideas from abroad and modelled the parks after those in Shanghai, which proved to be popular amongst the local population.

From the mid 30s to the 80s, Shaw operated two popular fairgrounds – the Great World Amusement Park and the New World Amusement Park.

At its height, the company owned multiple cinemas and amusement parks throughout Singapore, Malaysia and Borneo, and spawned Shaw Brothers Studio in Hong Kong to feed its then-burgeoning operation.

By August 2000, a computerised ticketing system developed jointly with Singapore Computer Systems was launched. This system linked all Shaw theatres into a single network for automated telephone credit card purchases. With her extensive infrastructure, Shaw is now the biggest distributor of Asian cinema.[4] Today, it manages and runs 70 screens in 7 locations in Singapore.

Business operationsEdit


Shaw Theatres has 8 cinemas and 78 screens in Singapore currently. Shaw Theatres Balestier is currently closed for renovations and will reopen in early 2023.

Current locationsEdit

Cinema Screens/Halls Seats Location Opening Year Digital Hall IMAX 3D Digital Hall Shaw Premiere Shaw Lumiere Dreamers
Lido (Shaw House) 11 1978 Orchard 1993  Y  Y  Y  N  N  N
Lot One 8 664 Choa Chu Kang 1996  Y  N  Y  N  N  N
Balestier (Shaw Plaza) 11 TBA Balestier 1999  Y  N  Y TBC TBC TBC
nex 10 1285 Serangoon 2010  Y  N  Y  Y  N  N
JCube 7 1010 Jurong East 2012  Y  Y  Y  N  N  N
The Seletar Mall 8 739 Sengkang 2014  Y  N  Y  N  N  N
Waterway Point 11 1450 Punggol 2016  Y  Y  Y  N  N  N
Jewel 11 828 Changi Airport 2019  Y  Y  Y  N  Y  Y
Paya Lebar Quarter 12 986 Paya Lebar 2019  Y  Y  Y  N  Y  N

Former locationsEdit

Cinema Screens/Halls Seats Location Opening Year Closed Year
Bugis Junction 3 1080 Downtown Core 2001 2016
Century Square 6 979 Tampines 1995 2017
Changi 3 1154 Bedok 1980 2000
Chinatown Point 2 684 Chinatown 1991 1999
Great World 4 River Valley 1936 1992
Hoover 1 900 Balestier 1960 1996
Oriental 2 Chinatown 1990 2000
President 1 1200 Balestier 1973 1996
Republic 3 Marine Parade 1980 1999
Roxy 1 1200 Katong 1931 1978
Savoy 2 Boon Lay 1980s 1998
Shaw Tower 4 1200 Beach Road 2001 2009
Taman Jurong 1 Jurong 1970s 1990s
Vision 4 1200 Hougang 1993 2000
Woodlands 2 619 Woodlands 1980 1999

Commercial propertiesEdit

Besides its involvement in film distribution, Shaw Organisation had investments in properties[5] as well. The most prominent one is the Shaw House located at 350 Orchard Road with Isetan as its anchor tenant. The Shaw House is actually the organisation's largest project to date in Singapore. It took three years to construct and was finally completed in 1993.

Other than the Shaw House, the Shaw Organisation also owns other commercial properties including the Shaw Plaza, Shaw Centre, Shaw Corner, Oriental Plaza, Balestier Warehouse, North Bridge Road Shophouse and Mackenzie Road Shophouse.

Commercial Property Type Location Description
Shaw Plaza Shopping Mall 360 Balestier Road, Singapore 329783 A modern 5-storey shopping mall with a 2-storey annexe block. Currently closed for asset enhancement works.
Shaw House Office Tower 350 Orchard Road, Singapore 238868 A 21-storey office building with a 6-storey retail/ entertainment complex.
Shaw Centre Shopping Mall & Office Towers 1 Scotts Road, Singapore 228208 A 27-storey office building with a 5-storey retail and F&B mall.
Shaw Corner Intermediate Apartment 12 Boon Teck Road, Singapore 329586 A 4-storey commercial building.
Oriental Plaza Duplex Apartment 291 New Bridge Road, Singapore 088756 A 4-storey commercial building.
North Bridge Road Shophouse Duplex Apartment 791/ 791A/ 791B North Bridge Road, Singapore A 2-storey shophouse with an attic
Balestier Warehouse Duplex Apartment 12A Jalan Ampas, Singapore 329526 A 9-storey warehouse development.
Mackenzie Road Shophouse Duplex Apartment 13 Mackenzie Road, Singapore 228676 A 4-storey shophouse.

Residential projectsEdit

Shaw Organisation also owns residential properties in Singapore. The two notable ones are Twin Heights[6] and Hullet Rise. The others are single houses (With the exception of Jalan Sampurna which is a plot of land with two houses).

Residential Property Type Location Description
Twin Heights[7] Condominium 350 Balestier Road, Singapore 329779; 352 Balestier Road, Singapore 329780 Two 21-storey freehold apartment blocks comprising 2 and 3-bedroom apartments and four penthouses.
Hullet Rise[8] Apartment Block 6 Hullet Rise, Singapore 229159 A 16-storey apartment block comprising bedroom apartments.
25 Jalan Sampurna Semi-detached House 25 Jalan Sampurna, Singapore 268303 2 houses on the same plot of land with symmetrical layouts.
23 Fernhill Road Intermediate Apartment 23 Fernhill Road, Singapore 259075 A 3-storey intermediate apartment with a car porch.
45 Coronation Road West Duplex Apartment (Duplex House) Singapore 269261 2-storey detached duplex apartment with car porch and swimming pools.
43 Coronation Road West Duplex Apartment (Duplex House) Singapore 266204 2-storey detached duplex apartment with car porch and swimming pools.


Shaw Organisation Pte Ltd owns the Shaw Properties Pte Ltd and Shaw Theatres Pte Ltd. Shaw Properties Pte Ltd oversees the operations in property development, acquisition and leasing whilst Shaw Theatres Pte Ltd oversees the operations in film purchase, distribution and the cinema's food and beverages.


Shaw FoundationEdit

The Shaw Foundation was set up in 1957[9] by the Shaw brothers and is currently one of the largest philanthropic organisations in the world. Most of the money comes from its revenue from the properties under Shaw Properties Pte Ltd. All earnings from the Shaw Centre since the late 70s have been given to charitable organisations.

The largest amount that the Shaw Foundation has ever set aside was SGD 17.7 million in the year 1999. The largest share of the funding went to the National Kidney Foundation and most of its recipients were in the healthcare sector.

In the educational sector,[10] the Shaw Foundation has been a regular donor to the National University of Singapore (NUS) since 1987, awarding around 240 scholarships to date.

Dr Shaw Vee Meng is currently the chairman of the Shaw Foundation. He is also the eldest son of Run Run Shaw.

National Kidney Foundation Singapore scandalEdit

The major recipient of Shaw Foundation's donations, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) of Singapore was caught in a scandal[11] mainly involving the misuse of donation funds of NKF. The incident circled around then chief executive officer, T.T Durai understating NKF's reserves and exaggerating the number of patients to encourage more donations, using the funds for personal reasons such as maintaining his personal car, travelling frequently on first class flights and an installation of a 'golden tap' in his private office suite. Durai dropped NKF's claims against the Singapore Press Holdings on 13 July 2005 after making several confessions during the trial and the entire board of NKF resigned on 14 July 2005.

Since the incident, there has been a said irreversible effect on trust issues for donations to charitable organisations in Singapore, including Shaw Foundation. For NKF itself, donations plummeted from $73 million in 2004 to $21 million in 2013[12] – signifying the lasting impact of the incident.


On 30 August 2020 at about 4.45pm, a piece of ventilation duct was dislodged on a cinema hall in the nex outlet while screening Tenet, resulting in two injuries. A spokesperson informed that the outlet would be temporarily closed until further notice. The theatre later resumed operations on March 18, 2021.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Shaw House (Lido)". Singapore Infopedia. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  2. ^ "1925: The Start of a Legendary Studio". The Chinese Mirror. Archived from the original on 19 April 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  3. ^ Chung, S.P. (2002). Moguls of the Chinese Cinema: The Story of the Shaw Brothers in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore. Modern Asian Studies. p. 665.
  4. ^ Curtin, Michael (2007). Playing to the World's Biggest Audience: The Globalization of Chinese Film and TV. University of California Press.
  5. ^ "Property Showcase". Shaw Property Showcase. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Twin Heights". Singapore Condo Directory. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  7. ^ "Twin Heights Project Information". Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Hullet Rise Condominium Details". Property Guru. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Shaw Foundation". Shaw Online – About Shaw. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Exemplifying the Giving Spirit – Shaw Foundation's unwavering support of NUS". NUS Giving. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  11. ^ "National Kidney Foundation Financial Scandal". Singapore Infopedia. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Revitalised NKF ready to come out of 'tortoise shell'". The Straits Times / Singapore. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  13. ^ "2 injured after ventilation duct collapses during movie at Shaw Theatres NEX". Retrieved 30 August 2020.

External linksEdit