56.com Back in the Land of the Living

56.com, the Chinese video site that has been unavailable for more than a month, came back online sometime early this morning. The site appears to be in its normal state, despite rumors that it was going to shift strategies and become a widget provider. The company gave Pacific Epoch no comment on the downtime, though of course people in the know have said all along that it was due to the Chinese government having a problem with some of 56.com’s content.

Featured on the 56.com home page today is Noah Kalina’s Everyday — I doubt it’s authorized, but it goes to show the power of video to transcend geographic boundaries and such. I don’t see embed code, though.

But 56.com still doesn’t have a broadcasting license from the government, something rival Youku said it received yesterday. We believe the other Chinese video-sharing powerhouse, Tudou, has yet to receive a license as well.

And the unprecedented downtime will surely affect 56.com’s ability to attract users going forward. When you go away for a month with no comment, people forget to keep checking back.

The company has raised at least $26 million in funding from Hikari Private Equity, Susquehanna International Group China, Adobe Systems, the CID Group, Sequoia Capital and Steamboat Ventures.