* Exports +3.5% y/y vs +9.5% forecast in Reuters poll

* Exports to China -5.3% y/y (prior month -11.3%)

* Sees exports in June up 16-19% y/y

* Sees stable uptrend extending in H2

TAIPEI, June 7 (Reuters) - Taiwan's exports rose less than expected in May, with surging demand for AI-related products blunted by soft demand from China

Exports rose 3.5% from a year earlier to $37.36 billion, the finance ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Though that was the seventh consecutive monthly rise, the pace was below both a forecast of 9.5% in a Reuters analysts poll and a 4.3% gain in April.

"With the global economy's stable recovery and business opportunities of AI and high-speed computing continuing to expand, May exports rose 3.5% on year," the ministry said in a statement.

Ministry official Beatrice Tsai said customers were being cautious about placing orders, though noted demand for AI-related goods had "their own special rhythm".

Taiwan's export momentum is expected to hold up in the second half of this year thanks to the chip industry's production advantages, the ministry added.

Taiwanese firms such as TSMC , the world's largest contract chipmaker, are major suppliers to Apple , Nvidia and other tech giants.

TSMC on Friday reported that May revenue leapt 30% compared to the same period a year ago.

The ministry predicted that Taiwan's exports in June could rise between 16% and 19% from a year earlier.

Exports to the United States jumped 36.4%, compared with a 81.6% surge in April.

However, shipments to China - Taiwan's largest trading partner - slid 5.3% in May on-year versus the previous month's 11.3% drop.

China's trade data on Friday showed exports grew more quickly and for a second month in May, suggesting factory owners are managing to find buyers overseas and providing some relief to the economy as it battles to mount a durable recovery. But imports lagged forecasts, pointing to still weak domestic demand.

Taiwan's total shipments of electronic components fell 11% in May from a year earlier to $13.4 billion, with semiconductor exports down 12.1%.

Taiwan's imports edged up 0.6% to $31.31 billion in May, well below economists' forecasts for a 6.0% gain. (Reporting by Faith Hung and Jeanny Kao; Editing by Kim Coghill)