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The smartphone-based Uber car hire service, which was born on the U.S. West Coast, has spread to a number of other cities in North America such as New York as well as other parts of the world, including Tokyo.

Its success in reaching more than 210 cities, achieved in the roughly four years since it was launched, is a gauge of the support it has gained from consumers in these markets. It has also led to fierce competition with taxis and new entrants offering similar services.

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