Katar Investments / Chinese Business Hub – unregulated investment in Dubai workspace units paying 10-12% per annum

Katar Investments is offering unregulated investment in rented workspace units in the Chinese Business Hub complex in Dubai South.

Investors can invest multiples of $30,000 to buy workspace units from Chinese Business Hub, which then undertakes to pay investors up to 12% per annum “assured returns” as follows:

  • invest $30,000 to buy 1 unit and receive “assured returns” of 10% per annum
  • invest $60,000 to buy 2 units and receive “assured returns” of 10.5% per annum
  • invest $90,000 to buy 3 units and receive “assured returns” of 11% per annum
  • invest $120,000 to buy 4 units and receive “assured returns” of 11.5% per annum
  • invest $150,000 to buy 5 units and receive “assured returns” of 12% per annum

Chinese Business Hub undertakes to buy the investor’s unit back after 10 years for 120% of the purchase price. It also says that after three years, a “trading platform” will be established to enable investors to sell their workspace unit.

Who are Katar Investments?

Katar Investments’ website lists the directors as Sam Tarling (founding partner and sales director), Jenny Gallgher (founding partner and marketing manager) and Joe Ferreira (director).

Companies House shows the controlling owner of Katar Investments Limited is Geoff Siden (who owns 54% of the company). Geoff Siden was previously the owner of Worldwide Leisure Group, a timeshare sales company, but online reports suggest he is retired. Sam Tarling, Jenny Gallagher and Joe Ferreira own the remaining shares.

Katar Investments Limited’s latest accounts show net assets of £15,875.

Who are Chinese Business Hub?

According to the literature the managing director is Elva Tang, although I could find no mention of an Elva Tang on chinesebusinesshub.com’s ‘About’ page.

The chinesebusinesshub.com website was registered in April 2016 by Tom Farmer of Crowngate International.

How safe is the investment?

These are unregulated investments in individual units of a rented workspace facility, and you risk losing up to 100% of your money if Chinese Business Hub stops making payments and a buyer cannot be found for your units.

This is a “pod” investment, where the owner of a property which others pay to occupy (such as a hotel, care room, self storage facility or, in this case, a rented workspace office) divides the property into units (or “pods”) and sells them to investors at a fixed price.

The investment should not be confused with a “buy to let” investment. With buy-to-let, the investor has full control over who they rent their property to. A buy-to-let investor may employ letting agents to do the job for them, but they can hire and fire the letting agent at will. They may also have to pay ground rent to the freeholder of a block of flats, but the freeholder does not have the right to stop the leaseholder letting out their flat.

In the case of this investment, Chinese Business Hub retains control over who uses the workspace units. Individual investors have no ability to fire Chinese Business Hub if they fail to keep their unit occupied.


The controller of the pod investment typically offers investors a fixed rate of return for a given period – in this case, 10-12% each year for ten years. Responsibility for renting out the units thus passes back to the controller, who must find enough renters to generate sufficient yield to pay investors their 10-12% each year.

The yield in itself does not make the investment attractive, because anyone can take $30,000 off someone and give them $3,000 a year back for ten years. The success of the investment depends on how much you get back at the end, once the fixed payments expire. To address this, “pod” investments typically promise to buy back the investor’s unit at a fixed rate of return – in this case, 120% after ten years.

These schemes are extremely high risk because the promise to pay investors a fixed return of 10-12% per annum is only as good as the company backing it. If The Chinese Business Hub fails to make sufficient income from its rental units to pay a fixed return of 10-12% per annum, it may default on payments of income to investors.

Likewise, the promise to buy back investors’ units at 120% of the purchase price is also dependent on Chinese Business Hub having sufficient liquid funds to do so. If Chinese Business Hub is unable or unwilling to buy back the units, investors will be relying on selling to third parties on the secondary market if they want to get their money out.

In the extreme, investors in pod-type investments have been known to lose all their money (e.g. Store First) when:

  • the investment firm stopped paying the promised fixed returns and refused to buy the units back
  • it became clear that there was no realistic prospect of the investor’s individual unit being occupied by a renter and generating any yield
  • and as the units generated no yield, this made them effectively worthless on the secondary market.

We are not implying that the same will happen to Chinese Business Hub’s units, but this example illustrates the risk that is inherent in investing in individual units within a larger investment property. Investors should not assume that as a workspace unit is a physical property, it must have some value. The value of a room in an office block to which someone else controls access depends entirely on what yield can be expected.

If Chinese Business Hub becomes unable to meet the payments of 10-12% per annum, investors would then have to rely on Chinese Business Hub keeping their workspace occupied and generating sufficient rental income from it.

This means that investors must satisfy themselves that Chinese Business Hub will not fill up its own units before it fills up those belonging to investors receiving rental income.

Market price

Investors purchase their workspace rental units for a fixed price of $30,000.

There is no recognised secondary market for individual workspace rental units and the figure of $30,000 has presumably been determined by a valuer working for Chinese Business Hub.

Investors should undertake their own due diligence on this purchase price to ensure it is fair. Just as when buying a house, you would hire your own valuer and not just accept the valuation of the estate agent (who works for the seller).

It is highly unlikely that anyone would buy a second-hand workspace unit in the Chinese Business Hub, when they could get one direct from Chinese Business Hub with a guaranteed 10-12% yield and a 120% buyback promise.

This means that for as long as Chinese Business Hub is making this offer, investors wishing to exit their investment will be reliant on Chinese Business Hub having sufficient funds to exercise the buyback option.

“Tax free” investment?

The brochure states “There are no income tax thresholds existent in the UAE, so all returns are fully tax-free”. Given that this brochure is being offered to non-UAE investors, this is a rather incautious statement. The investment may well be free of tax in the UAE, but overseas investors may be subject to income tax, capital gains tax or other taxes in their own country.

Should I invest in Chinese Business Hub ?

This blog does not give financial advice. The following are statements of publicly available facts or widely accepted investment principles, not a personalised recommendation. Investors should consult a regulated independent financial adviser if they are in any doubt.

As with any unregulated investment, this investment is only suitable for sophisticated and/or high net worth investors who have a substantial existing portfolio and are prepared to risk 100% loss of their money.

Any investment offering returns of 10-12% per annum should be considered very high risk. As an individual security with a risk of total and permanent loss, The Chinese Business Hub’s workspace units are higher risk than a mainstream stockmarket fund.

Before investing investors should ask themselves:

  • How would I feel if Chinese Business Hub became unable to pay fixed returns or to buy the units back, the workspace unit generated no rental income, there was no secondary market for my workspace unit and I lost up to 100% of my money?
  • Do I have a sufficiently large and well-diversified portfolio that the loss of 100% of my investment in Chinese Business Hub would not damage me financially?

If you are looking for a “secure” or “assured” investment, you should not invest in unregulated investments with a risk of 100% capital loss.


22 thoughts on “Katar Investments / Chinese Business Hub – unregulated investment in Dubai workspace units paying 10-12% per annum

  1. Brilliant analysis though I wish you had posted this in 2016 when this investment started. Many people like myself have invested in it and now the quarterly payments have become erratic. We are still waiting for our July 2018 payment.

  2. hi, Murad from above. So do you receive July quarterly rent?
    I am also an investor and they say they are going to buy back the investment.

  3. What are they going to buy it back with if they don’t have the money to pay quarterly interest reliably?

    What are the chances that they will ask for legal or admin fees to process your buyback…

  4. Hi Brev. Good to hear you.
    Are you one of the incestor. Just try to contact some more people o the ship. Thank you

  5. Hi! does anyone receive any payment from them until this moment. I can’t contact them any more……

  6. Hi!

    is there still any other investors of CBH and Avani Al Marjan Island RAK? want to gather more investors to get back the money

  7. hi all , please any one help me as i couldnt find the company CBH anymore as i invested more than $150k and i cannot find the company , nobody to speak to . please need your help . anyone has any inforamtion call me on + 971563344322 .

  8. https://www.crowngatepmc.com/crowngate-group

    This is another companies of crowngates International ( This phone number is still working on the website) –

    The owners are Gavin Smyth and Joe McCormack : +971 55 968 5105 this was their cell number

    Many people are owed money, perhaps they have left Dubai and moved back to Dublin

  9. Me also bought one unit , no repayments for 2 years now and likewise they say they are selling the invesments for us/just a standard reply from CBH saying its due to delays like ramadan etc

  10. I am a solicitor and act on behalf of investors in potential litigation regarding investments in Crowngate entities facilitated via Katar Investments and others. If you are an investor and would like to consider becoming involved with a view to a potential group claim please contact me at ac (at) helix-law (dot) com.

  11. I am a solicitor and act on behalf of investors in potential litigation regarding investments in Crowngate entities facilitated via Katar Investments and others. If you are an investor and would like to consider becoming involved with a view to a potential group claim please contact me at ac (at) helix-law (dot) com.

  12. I am also an investor who buys 2 units of CBH project. I need to join a group of investors who decide to choose the legal route. please let me know. My name is Mohamed and I am in Kuwait and my cell number is [Edit: Removed due to risk of recovery fraud. -Brev]

  13. Any news about CBH .the investment not existing any more and time is wasted with fake promises
    Any one can help

  14. We are trying to collect investors and open a case to them, according to the latest update we received, I thought they are trying to escape their responsibilities. We now have local investor which will be very helpful to help us talk to local police , if anyone wanna join us please send a mail to alaii2000@hotmail.com and I will contact you, thanks.

  15. Crowngate/LPT Management Consultancy worked in partnership to create this office space investment which no longer exists. The money, in their pockets. Your returns, in their pocket. Their response to your questions and queries “we are working day and night trying to get you your money back” can we see evidence? “we have a few bits of paper”.

  16. Chinese Business HUB, LPT Management Consultancy, Katar Investment, Crowngate International, Crowngate PMC, Flyod Howard. Elva Tang, Gavin Smyth, Joe McCormack, Sam Tarling and associates: avoid doing business with these people

  17. I invested in 7 units. Much the same situation as the rest of the comments, lots of emails about doing their best to resolve the situation, wasted words.

  18. These people need to be taken to court make sure they don’t enjoy there ill gotten gains

  19. I can’t beleive that there isnt a group setup yet to bring proceedings against Crowngate. Are there any financial investigators in Dubai that we can employ to go after these con artists ?

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