Although this article is mostly about Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC), it does offer an interesting look at its origin with the Shaw Brothers' theaters in Singapore and Malaysia. It's worth a read:
Golden at 25 & counting
As the nation's biggest cinema exhibitor recently marked a new milestone by celebrating 25 years of existence, many are intrigued as to how the cinema industry bloomed into a colossal industry in the first place.
While the first Malaysian movie experience incorporating sound that propelled our local production is famously known to be "Laila Majnun" released in 1933, the exact commercialisation of the cinema industry however is discerningly linked back to two Shanghai born brothers; Runme Shaw and Run Run Shaw, the historic pioneers of Malaysia and Singapore's film industry, who set foot in 1923 to explore the small yet newly existing regional market. As the Shaw brother's preliminary plan was to distribute their very own film productions to our shores, it proved to be a hurdle when they found the local market dominated by independent theatre houses whom refused to play their films. So to take matters into their own hands, the brothers constructed and operated their very first cinema in Tanjong Pagar (which at that time was part of Malaya) that then led the successful venture to span to more locations nationwide.
Run Run Shaw handled their cinemas in Singapore, while Runme Shaw ventured North to set up Ipoh as his base. Travelling to Kuala Lumpur,
Penang and other smaller towns he discovered that there were many
strategic locations that did not have cinemas, so as any entrepreneurs
would, they built them. Eventually, with the mounting number of chains
in Malaya, Runme eventually took over the Northern half of Malaya while
Run Run manned the southern half, including Singapore.