Celebrations have already begun in Singapore and several other Asian countries/Photo: AP

By Andah John with agency report

Auckland in New Zealand became the first major world city to welcome the year 2017.

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And From Sydney to Pyongyang, festive crowds were reported to have gathered to say goodbye to 2016.

Many cities around the world are reported to have stepped up security for New Year’s Eve celebrations, after a year in which attackers drove lorries into crowds in Berlin in Germany and Nice, France.

In Paris, Madrid and New York, concrete barriers and heavy goods vehicles will be used to block off central squares where crowds gather to celebrate.

Some 17,000 police officers will be on duty in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with some disguised as Santa Claus and street vendors, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The iconic midnight fireworks display at Sydney Harbour in Australia paid tribute to Prince and David Bowie, two music superstars who died in 2016.