But this focus on teaching might not be the only answer, according to Professor Lianghuo Fan, who was brought up in China, but is now head of Southampton University's Mathematics and Science Education Research Centre in the U.K.
"Most of the differences between Asia and the West are culturally related," he told CNBC. "Parents have higher expectations, so that affects the children's attitude and behaviors and learning of that subject."
Why the difference?
Bellos, who has studied cultural responses to numbers across the world, highlighted a number of reasons for this different attitude. Firstly, in many Asian countries, parents have a vested interest in their child's mathematical ability.
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"One of the cultural reasons for that, a lot is invested in your children's education – it's the cultural norm, in later years, for your children to send you money. Most people of a working age will give some money to their parents," he told CNBC.
Another cultural reason behind the divergent math ability is that numbers are a lot more prominent in many Asian cultures, according to Bellos. Lucky numbers play a much greater role, for instance, and in Japan odd numbers are preferred to even numbers.
"You'd have thought the idea of being more superstitious and having more of an emotional engagement with numbers is anti-scientific. But actually it goes together with being more numerate. Numbers are part of human life so let's just embrace them," he added.
And it's not just the culture at home that has an impact – it also travels to the classroom.
Fan said that one result of higher parental expectations was more challenging math syllabuses. Plus, almost all students are required to sit a math exam as part of their university entrance exam.
"Another important thing that is very visible in research is that teachers spend much more time on real teaching (in China). And much less time on classroom management, like disciplinary matters," he said. "This is something we have to tackle (in the U.K.)."
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Asian schools also have more physical approach to math, which makes the subject more appealing to youngsters, according to Bellos. He highlighted the popularity of the abacus across Asia. In Japan, for instance, after-school "Abacus Club" is hugely popular.
"The abacus is part of culture in a way that it isn't here. No one knows if using an abacus makes you better at math, but something about it being physical makes it a bit more fun," he said.
Beyond the physical, there is also a more practical approach to numeracy – which recruiter Constantinides said was crucial when it comes to getting that all-important job.
"In this country there has been more of a tradition of people studying subjects purely for academic interest without much regard for how their experience will be applicable in the real world," he said.
"There is a cultural difference there. Other nationalities are more hardnosed about that. They're more likely to study applied math and statistics which are far more geared to eventual employment."