Shaw Organisation

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This article is about the Singapore film distributor and movie-theatre chain. For the Hong Kong movie studio, see Shaw Brothers Studio.
Shaw Organisation
Shaw Services (Pte) Ltd
Public company
Industry Media, Entertainment
Founded 1924
Headquarters Singapore
Products Cinemas, Film distribution
Website www.shaw.sg

Shaw Organisation is a film distribution company and movie theatre chain founded by Runme Shaw and his younger brother Run Run Shaw when they came to Singapore in the 1920s to expand their family business.[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. Both Tianyi Film Company and Shaw Organisation are similar in that they are in the film industry. However, unlike Tianyi Film,[2] Shaw Organisation does not produce films but distribute them in their theatres.

History[edit]

Shaw organisation has had a long history in Singapore since its founding in 1924. 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 movie theatres offering varied shows for smaller crowds.

The Beginning[edit]

The Shaw Organisation was founded in 1924 when the late Tan Sri Runme Shaw (1901-1985) arrived in Singapore from Ningbo, Shanghai. He was the third of seven children of a Shanghai textile merchant, Shaw Yuh Hsuen (1667-1920).

In Shanghai, Runme and his brothers owned a film company known as Unique Film Productions (aka Tian Yi Film Co) where they produced 'silent films'. Unique Film Productions was a family managed business. Under elder brother Runme Shaw’s leadership, the brothers operated in a mode of collaboration whereby each took up different roles in the family business.

However, the brothers, not satisfied with the domestic market, wanted to seek business opportunities elsewhere, especially South-East Asia. Eventually, the brothers co-operated such that each took to develop an Asian coastal city. 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 brother Sir Run Run Shaw two years later.[3]

Amusement Parks[edit]

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.

Shaw Brothers[edit]

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

Growth in Recent Years[edit]

By August 2000, a computerised ticketing system developed jointly with Singapore Technologies 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 55 screens in 8 locations in Singapore.

Business Operations[edit]

Movie Theatres[edit]

Locations

Shaw Theatres has 8 cinemas in Singapore currently. A ninth cineplex featuring an IMAX hall will open at Punggol in late 2015. Century Square is privately owned.

Cinema Screens/Halls Seats Location Opening Year Digital Hall IMAX 3D Digital Hall Shaw Premiere
Lido 11 2100 Orchard 1993 Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN
Bugis Junction 3 1080 Bugis 2001 Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Red XN
Lot One 4 1022 Choa Chu Kang 1996 Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Red XN
Century Square 6 979 Tampines 1995 Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Red XN
Nex 10 1300 Serangoon 2010 Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Green tickY
Balestier 6 1267 Balestier 1999 Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Red XN
JCube 7 868 Jurong East 2012 Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN
Seletar Mall 8 788 Sengkang 2014 Green tickY Red XN Green tickY Red XN
Waterway Point 10 TBA Punggol 2015 Green tickY Green tickY Green tickY Red XN

Former locations

Cinema Screens/Halls Seats Location Opening Year Closed Year
Changi 3 1154 Bedok 1980 2000
Chinatown Point 2 684 Chinatown 1991 1999
Great World 4 River Valley 1936 1992
Hoover 1 Balestier 1950s 1996
Oriental 2 Chinatown 1990 2000
Republic 3 Marine Parade 1980 1999
Savoy 2 Boon Lay 1980s 1998
Shaw Tower 4 1200 Beach Road 2001 2009
Vision 4 1200 Hougang 1993 2000
Woodlands 2 619 Marsiling 1980 1999

Commercial Properties[edit]

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.
Shaw House Apartment Block 350 Orchard Road, Singapore 238868 A 21-storey office building with a 6-storey retail/ entertainment complex.
Shaw Centre Semi-detached House 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 Projects[edit]

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.

Investing Activities[edit]

Subsidiaries[edit]

Shaw Organisation Pte Ltd owns the Shaw Properties Pte Ltd and Shaw Theatres Pte Ltd.

As the name suggests, 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.

Charity[edit]

Shaw Foundation[edit]

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 70’s have been given to charitable organisations.

The largest amount that the Shaw Foundation has ever set aside was a whopping 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[10] sector, 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.

Controversy[edit]

National Kidney Foundation Saga

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 over-exaggerating the number of patients to encourage more donations, using the funds for personal reasons such as maintaining his personal car (a Mercedes-Benz 200), 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 the 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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Shaw House (Lido)". Singapore Infopedia. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  2. ^ "1925: The Start of a Legendary Studio". The Chinese Mirror. 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 - News. 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. 

External links[edit]

"Shaw Theatres Corporate Website".