TAIPEI, April 18 (Reuters) - Taiwanese chipmaker TSMC posted a 9% rise in first-quarter net profit on Thursday that beat market expectations as it rides a wave of demand for semiconductors used in artificial intelligence applications.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), the world's largest contract chipmaker and a major Apple Inc and Nvidia supplier, saw January-March net profit rise to T$225.5 billion ($6.97 billion) from T$206.9 billion a year earlier.

The profit beat a T$218.1 billion LSEG SmartEstimate, which is weighted toward forecasts from analysts who are more consistently accurate. ($1 = 32.3350 Taiwan dollars) (Reporting by Yimou Lee and Faith Hung; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Himani Sarkar)