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Doesn’t look like it is an airport rule. The SQ website shows that check in for SQ 827 opens only 2:05 prior to departure in winter and 2:20 in summer. For other flights it is 3 hours:-
As others have pointed out, this may have to do with SQ having contracted ground handling out to a local company. Typically, such third party operators have no commercial incentive to make exceptions. Having said that, if you need to check in earlier than 3 hours on a regular basis, it may be a good idea to speak to whoever is in-charge of SQ flight handling at PVG (preferably if they are an SQ employee) and make a request. Here’s the address and contact details:-
Daily 0600 hours to 0030 hours
Room 2-B7-504, Terminal 2, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shanghai 201202, China
You can never know unless you ask…