Donald Trump has claimed victory in the election and will be the 45th president of the United States.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has called Mr Trump to concede and will not be addressing her campaign rally tonight.
At his campaign headquarters in New York, Mr Trump addressed a crowd of supporters screaming "USA!"
"I just received the call from Secretary Clinton. She congratulated us on our victory and I congratulated her and her family on a very hard-fought campaign. She fought very hard," Mr Trump said.
"Now it's time for America to bind the wounds of division.
"It is time for us to come together as one united people."
"Ours was not a campaign but rather an incredible and a great movement. It's a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs."
Mr Trump said he had spent his entire life in business "looking at the untapped potential in people and projects across the entire world".
"That is what I want to do for our country."
Prime Minister John Key was quick to congratulate Mr Trump on his victory and said he'll be looking to build close ties with the new administration.
"The American people have spoken and I congratulate Mr Trump on his victory after a long campaign," Mr Key said in a statement on Wednesday night.
"I will be writing to Mr Trump to offer my personal congratulations shortly."
Other governments from Asia to Europe reacted with stunned disbelief, while populists hailed the result as a triumph of the people over a failed political establishment.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen described the result as a "huge shock" and questioned whether it would mean the end of the state of relative peace overseen by Washington that has governed international relations since World War Two.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault pledged to work with Mr Trump but said his personality "raised questions".
Former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt went one step further, saying: "Looks like this will be the year of the double disaster of the West."
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hoped to work with Trump to restore Russian-American relations from their "state of crisis".
Mr Trump defied the polls and pundits to win a swathe of battleground states and claim the White House.
He has also taken the north-eastern states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Iowa. Barack Obama won all of these states in the 2012 election.
Ms Clinton's campaign chair John Podesta addressed her campaign rally in New York and said the Democratic candidate would not be speaking tonight.
"I want every person in this hall and everyone across the country who supported Hillary to know that your voices and your enthusiasm means so much to her and to Tim and all of us," Mr Podesta said.
The colourful billionaire, who was written off multiple times during his candidacy, will now be inaugurated on January 20, 2017.
Early voting by Latino voters was projected to give Ms Clinton "firewall" against Mr Trump in key states, but it wasn't enough to make a difference.
CNN reported that only 65 percent of Latino voters supported Ms Clinton, while 37 percent cast their ballots for Mr Trump. Mr Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2012.
While Ms Clinton outpolled Mr Trump among voters aged 18-29 by a margin of 54 percent to 37 percent, her result was well down on Mr Obama's 2012 tally of 60 percent for the same demographic.
The picture was similar with African-American voters - 88 percent voted for Ms Clinton, but 93 percent voted for Mr Obama in 2012.
Global markets plunged as Mr Trump's victory became apparent, with the Dow futures down 800 points and safety measures kicking in to prevent it dropping further.
Mr Trump's populist, anti-immigration message appealed to predominantly white, working- and middle-class voters.
States in the so-called "rust belt" in America's north-east, traditionally Democratic strongholds, swung strongly against Ms Clinton.
Ms Clinton's campaign was dogged by questions over her trustworthiness, chiefly due to her use of a private email server to send classified information while Secretary of State under President Barack Obama.
The FBI initially cleared Ms Clinton of criminal wrongdoing, before abruptly announcing it was reopening the investigation two weeks ago, after the discovery of additional emails.The investigation was closed again days later, but dominated coverage during the last phase of the campaign, when early voters were already going to the polls.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he could work with the new president, who has promised to scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
"New Zealand's got a good relationship with the US - if there's a policy change in areas like trade then we'll have to learn to live with that," he said.
"As I've always said, we don't get to choose the president; my responsibility as Prime Minister is to work with the new president, whoever that is."
NZ First leader Winston Peters said the election was sending a message to the establishment, and something similar could happen in New Zealand.
"Many of you, just as in the UK and USA, have been used and abused by the old political parties, and all of the new ones, except one," he said.
"My message to you today is, 'I hear you. I see your troubles and help is on the way.'."
Newshub. (with Reuters)