Google launches UAE version of YouTube

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Google said on Sunday it has launched a local version of YouTube for the UAE.

The new YouTube.co.ae comes as the video platform continues to build on the largest collection of videos online.

The local version of YouTube means that people who visit the site will see on the homepage the most popular videos in the UAE along with those that are rising in popularity, Google said in a statement.

From YouTube's inception, people in the Middle East have been active members of the global community, both watching and uploading countless videos, it added.

Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched his own YouTube channel in February.

The Dubai Government Media Office announced the launch, saying it was the latest move by Sheikh Mohammed, also vice president and prime minister of the UAE, to better interact with the public.

YouTube in the Middle East and North Africa has seen the number of playbacks doubling in the past year and users in MENA upload one hour of video per minute.

There are 167 million video views a day in MENA, putting the region in the number two spot in the world, behind the US and ahead of Brazil.

"We have seen enormous growth for YouTube in the MENA region and expect this expansion to continue even more significantly with the launch of the UAE domain. " said Ari kesisoglu, managing director, Middle East North Africa at Google.

"A primary objective for us is to encourage local content from regional users, which we believe will be fuelled by this latest development."

Last year, loca YouTube versions were launched for Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen.

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