Salidroside has been identified as the most potent ingredient of the Chinese medicine herb, Rhodiola sachalinensis. Since the natural supply of this herb is rapidly decreasing, we established a compact callus aggregate (CCA) strain and culturing system for high yield salidroside production. Several callus strains induced from the explants originated from root, stem, leaf and cotyledon of R. sachalinensis were established and screened for rapid growth rate, high salidroside content and easy propagation in suspension culture condition. The CCA strain was established from a callus strain initiated from the cotyledon. The kinetics of dry weight accumulation and cellular salidroside content in various culture conditions for the strain was determined. For high salidroside production, the optimal inoculum amount was 10% and the optimal concentration for 6-benzylaminopurine and indole-3-butyric acid added in the liquid medium was 5 and 2.5 mg l-1, respectively. The acidic culture medium and a faster shaking speed favored the salidroside accumulation. The addition of 2,4-D, in the liquid MS medium and the utilization of L-tyrosol for chemical feeding enhanced salidroside production. Using a proper combination of culture condition and treatment, salidroside accumulation could reach 57.72 mg g-1 dry weight, that was 5-10-fold higher than that detected in field-grown plants. The corresponding salidroside yield was 555.13 mg l-1, a level suitable for cost effective commercial production to compensate the natural resource shortage of R. sachalinensis.