- Jeff Bezos was inspired by Elon Musk to launch a bidding war for Amazon’s HQ2, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
- Bezos reportedly wanted North American cities to compete for the chance to host HQ2 by offering large incentives, much like Nevada did in order to land Tesla’s Gigafactory in 2014.
- Bezos and Musk have something of a rivalry, having squared off in the past of their respective space ambitions.
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A little over two years ago, Amazon launched its nationwide search for HQ2, creating a bidding war that spanned North America. But CEO Jeff Bezos’ inspiration for the competition may have come from a surprising source: Elon Musk.
That’s according to a new report from Bloomberg’s Spencer Soper, Matt Day, and Henry Goldman, which delves into how the HQ2 competition came to be, and how things ultimately fell apart in New York City. The piece highlights how Amazon’s push for incentives created tension among politicians, which resulted in Amazon pulling out of New York altogether.
But Amazon’s focus on raking in incentives from local governments appears to have been the result of Bezos’ desire to emulate Elon Musk’s success in Nevada, according to Bloomberg.
Back in 2014, Musk created a competition for Tesla’s Gigafactory, a battery plant that Musk promised would create thousands of jobs for whichever state was lucky enough to get it. New Mexico, California, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada were the finalists, with Nevada winning the plant after pledging a record $US1.3 billion in incentives.
Bezos frequently brought up Musk’s success with the Gigafactory in meetings, according to Bloomberg, openly wondering why Amazon didn’t push for larger incentives. Then, when Amazon opted to build a new hub in Cincinnati in 2017, it received $US40 million in incentives from the state of Kentucky, a comparatively low amount that annoyed Bezos, Bloomberg reported.
As a result, Bezos pushed for high-value incentives for HQ2, plus another $US1 billion for additional Amazon projects, according The Wall Street Journal.
Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Bezos and Musk have something of a long-standing rivalry thanks to their respective space ambitions. Bezos, who owns a rocket company called Blue Origin, has frequently criticised the idea of populating Mars, which is a goal of SpaceX, the rocket company Musk runs. The two companies have also competed over launch sites, drone ships, and reusable rockets, and Musk and Bezos have even made subtle jabs at each other in public and on Twitter.