WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- After a yearlong race to embrace e-commerce giant Amazon's second headquarters HQ2, two U.S. cities out of more than two hundred competitors were reportedly close to hitting the finish line shoulder to shoulder.
The two frontrunners, Crystal City of Virginia and Long Island City of New York, are Amazon's most favorite locations to set up its second headquarters HQ2, U.S. media reported on Monday.
The establishment of HQ2 will bring to the local economy up to 50,000 high-paying jobs and a 5-billion-U.S. dollar investment, according to U.S. media.
The race was launched in September 2017, when Amazon announced its plans to establish a HQ2 in North America in addition to the previous headquarters in Seattle.
After Amazon fired the starter pistol, altogether 238 cities across North America had filed their applications. Amazon released its favorite picks in January, which included New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and 16 other cities in the U.S. along with a Canadian city, Toronto.
Cities on the shortlist had made generous offers to impress the online retail giant. Toronto offered real estate sites for the company. Newark, the largest city in the State of New Jersey, announced a tax incentive of 7 billion U.S. dollars. Meanwhile, some cities like Philadelphia redacted their proposals, some even refused to make the proposals public.
Earlier on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon will divide its second headquarters evenly between two locations rather than picking one city, meanwhile, it would also split the workforce evenly with about 25,000 employees in each place.
The New York Times reported on Monday night that Amazon is close to a deal to split its HQ2 between Long Island City and Crystal City.
Crystal City, a peaceful area lies across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., is less than a one-hour drive to the White House, Congress and most government agencies. The city also boasts a bunch of intellectuals as well as modern transportation systems. Amazon even has an older office space nearby, and its Chief Executive Jeff Bezos has a home in the D.C. area as well.
Long Island City also ranked high for its extraordinary neighborhood. The city lies across the East River from the New York City, which is described uniquely as the cultural, financial, and media center of the world.
However, if Amazon goes ahead with two new sites as reported, it is unclear whether the company would refer to both of the locations as headquarters or if they would amount to large satellite offices.
Some experts noted that the selection process was "gamified" and rigged from the very start. By luring other cities to compete, Amazon can extract more incentives from the cities.
The founder and the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, said at a public event on Thursday that he is choosing HQ2 location with his heart.
"Ultimately the decision will be made with intuition after gathering and studying a lot of data," said Bezos, "you immerse yourself in that data but then you make the decision with your heart."
Amazon had just entered the top 10 companies of the Fortune 500 list in May, ranking eighth with revenue of 177.87 billion U.S. dollars. Jeff Bezos had become the wealthiest American on the Forbes magazine's annual list with a net worth of 160 billion U.S. dollars, almost doubling that from a year ago.