In its first expansion beyond South-East Asia, Singapore exhibitor Cathay Organisation has set up a joint venture with Dubai 's Emaar Malls.

Tapping the expertise of Cathay, a pioneer in the movie entertainment industry since 1935, Reel Entertainment will manage the development of all the multiplexes in 150 malls that the Dubai-based property developer plans to open across the Middle East, North Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

The new company, 25% owned by Cathay and the rest by Emaar, will first invest $30m to open two multiplexes with a total of 30 screens in Dubai Mall and Dubai Marina Mall.

With 12.1 million square feet, the Dubai Mall is poised to be one of the world's largest when it opens its doors in September 2008. It will house the city-state's largest cinema - a megaplex with 22 screens and 3,000 seats, including four premier class, one arthouse and 17 commercial halls. Other anchor tenants are the region's most prestigious Downtown Burj Dubai development and the world's tallest tower Burj Dubai.

The Dubai Marina Mall will further provide Dubai residents with an eight-screen multiplex with 1,200 seats in the heart of the city's master-planned waterfront. An opening in late 2008 is expected.

'We are delighted to be the first Singapore exhibitor to go beyond the shores of South East Asia. It is very exciting to be entering a new market,' said Cathay 's executive director Choo Meileen. 'We are pleased to be able to showcase what we are best known for; a cinematic experience that would be memorable and distinctively different.'

'Reel Entertainment will redefine the big-cinema experience by employing the latest digital audio-visual technology and offering superior service standards including on-line ticket booking facilities, automated kiosks and box-office counters,' said Emaar Malls CEO Rashid Zakaria Doleh.