YouTube launches UAE version

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Google announced the launching of a UAE version of YouTube for users in the seven emirates on Sunday.

The new domain came amid the search giant’s moves to consolidate the video platform by building a huge collection of local videos online.

The UAE version of YouTube means people who visit the homepage will see the most popular videos in the country along with the most popular ones, 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,” the web search giant added.

Back in February, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister and also the ruler of Dubai, launched his own YouTube channel. He also has his own Twitter account with more than 769,000 followers.

The Dubai Government Media Office said the move was made in order to better interact with the public.

YouTube has seen a meteoric rise during the last few months in the Middle East and North Africa region with users uploading one hour of video per minute. Many media analysts attribute the popularity to Arab Spring.

Users in the MENA regions view 167 million videos a day, just behind the US and claiming the number two spot in the world.

“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,” he added.

YouTube launched local versions for Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen last year.

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