COURIER Federal Express will decide by the middle of next month which two cities are to become its regional hubs. Joseph McCarty, senior vice-president for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, said Manila had emerged as first choice for the main hub, with former US naval base Subic Bay a close second. The second hub is likely to be established at Taipei's Chiang Kai Shek airport, where the Government has agreed to release off-site space for couriers to establish bonded warehouses. Mr McCarty said space was the main problem at Taipei, and that Shenzhen and Macau were in the final round of candidates. He said that after the decision was made, it would take about a year to build the facility in the Philippines, and the level of investment involved would depend on which location was chosen. ''Manila will require a little more investment because its infrastructure is not as good as Subic Bay's,'' he said, while declining to disclose any figures. Subic Bay, 80 kilometres northwest of Manila, has been kept in good shape by the citizens of Olongapo town since the US forces left in November 1991. The base is the city's main asset and about 8,000 volunteers maintain the buildings, trim the grass and patrol to keep out thieves. Mr McCarty said Federal Express had been granted early-morning arrival and late-evening departure slots at the new Kansai International Airport in Japan, which is scheduled to open in September next year. In Hong Kong, the company's daily volume now exceeds more than 100,000 packets, according to a company official.