Following rumours of an expansion plan, YouTube today announced officially that it is going international.

Local versions of YouTube are now available in Brazil, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK.

According to the statement, today's announcement is just the first step towards fully localised sites in each of the nine countries.

As part of this rollout, each country's site is fully translated, with local homepages and search functions.

Eventually, each local site will benefit from an entirely "local experience" including country-specific video rankings and comments, as well as Video, Channel, Categories and Community sections.

"Video is universal and allows people around the world to communicate and exchange ideas. With our announcement today we are expanding upon our already global platform to make it even more relevant for our local communities", said Chad Hurley, YouTube's co-founder and CEO.

"YouTube will now be more accessible and interesting to a worldwide audience, and we look forward to rolling out in other countries in the months to come."

YouTube has already signed various international content partners including the BBC, France 24, the Spanish Antena 3 and Cuatro TV, the Portuguese RTP, the Dutch VPRO and NPO; football clubs such as Chelsea FC, AC Milan, Barcelona FC and Real Madrid; and non-profit organisations such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, UNHCR and Medecins du Monde.

The new sites have launched on the following local domains: www.youtube.com.br, www.youtube.fr, www.youtube.ie, www.youtube.it, www.youtube.jp, www.youtube.nl, www.youtube.pl, www.youtube.es, and www.youtube.co.uk

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