Uber Launches in Dubai

Just days after receiving a $258 million gift card from Google Ventures and TPG, the San Francisco car-hire start-up has officially launched its service in Dubai.

We heard the news via an exultant tweet from Uber spokesman Andrew Noyes, accompanied by a glamor shot of the company's first Dubai rider.

The man in the photo is Riz Khan, a TV host and international journalist who apparently got swept up in the ride-share romance. According to an Uber company blog post, he used the iPhone app to hail a sleek BMW-7 from downtown, shortly after hearing that it had arrived in the Emirates.

So why Dubai? Well, according to Uber, it's an industrial country in full bloom, plumped with glitzy nightclubs, chic restaurants, a burgeoning tourist industry, tech ex-pats -- the perfect place to transform into a (faux) cab town.

We're not sure if Uber will face the same regulatory skirmishes there that it's set off in the United States, but for now the company is plowing ahead. Uber said it will spend the next few weeks "testing and tweaking" its service, but in the meantime, it's hiring. If you've ever had an inkling to move to the gulf, check out this job posting for a new community manager.

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