People in New Zealand's Auckland city were among the first to celebrate. In Australia, hundreds of thousands gathered for a spectacular fireworks display around Sydney's Harbour Bridge, a website reported.

East Asian cities were next to ring in the new year, with Beijing, Jakarta and Singapore all hosting celebrations.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people enjoyed watching fireworks over Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour.

In Japan, Shinto priests gathered at shrines, as Japanese traditionally visit shrines and temples to pray for their families at this time.

Dubai was aiming for a world record for the largest display. Dubai's fireworks display will be streamed live on the internet.

(Agencies)

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